Tuesday, April 23, 2013
A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Newly returned from Afghanistan. a war injured Dr. John Watson, is trying to find his way in a London he is no longer familiar with. Through a casual conversation with an acquaintance, Dr. Watson learns of a possible roommate to share expenses with. It's that chance meeting that Dr. Watson first enters into the life of Sherlock Holmes, a young man trying to make it as an independent detective.
At first, while Dr. Watson seems to be impressed with Holmes' abilities, he not completely taken in with the idea. When Holmes is asked to consult on his very first murder case, Dr. Watson is about to find out how wrong he was in doubting his friend and his keen observation skills.
Little do they know that the murder is really the ending of a story that started thirty-four years ago, in a country separated from them by the Atlantic Ocean. It will take all of Holmes' observation and reasoning skills to piece the puzzle together. If he can't, he may not get a second chance.
It's been a little over two years since I first dipped my toes into the waters of Sherlock Holmes. I reviewed The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes back in March of 2011, and for whatever reason I never bothered to look and see if those short stories were the beginning of the tale. For all of you fans out there, you already know the answer to that, A Study in Scarlet is where Sherlock and Watson first hook up. And it was here that I decided would be the best place to continue on my journey. I'm actually going to try and read the rest of the Holmes canon in order.
I really enjoyed getting to know Holmes and Watson as they are getting to know each other. A lot of the mysteries I have read start with a pairing already together, so you never get to see how it all started. You have to catch clues given throughout a series in order to understand the dynamics of the relationship as it progresses through the years. With Holmes and Watson, you get to see it from the beginning, something I really enjoyed reading about.
The mystery itself was a classic example of a vintage mystery. A dead man is found in a vacant house, no marks upon his body, and a strange message written upon a wall. Two of Scotland Yard's best detectives are assigned to the case, and they decide to call Holmes in almost at once. From the beginning, there seems to be no leads and no real direction to take the investigation in. Holmes being Holmes, he acts strangely and asks the oddest questions, questions that everyone else seems to not get the point of. Once they leave the location of the crime, his behavior just gets stranger.
What nobody really knows, including the audience, is all the work he is doing behind the scenes in order to solve the case. I do wish there would have been a little more insight given to the audience, instead of having a solution sprung on us. Granted, the explanation is long and complex, and doesn't really leave any questions unanswered. Though the Mormon aspect of it, takes a little stretching of the imagination. I'm not sure how much of the Mormon history expressed in the book is accurate, but the attitude the book takes is the only aspect that really does date the story.
Now that I have the opening gambit out of the way, I'm really looking forward to the rest of the Holmes/Watson partnership.
Challenges: A-Z, VM (Colorful Crime)