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A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Canon Doyle

I don’t know what it is, it might be because forensic shows (CSI, Bones, etc.) have become so popular or maybe because of the crimes people hear about on TV, but there seems to be a new found interest in the world’s greatest, most original detective, Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock Holmes can be seen everywhere, from the new movie, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law, to a brand new TV show from BBC, ‘Sherlock’, the mysteries everyone loves set in 21st century London which stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. We recently bought a DVD of the new show and I loved it right away but after I watched the first episode, A Study in Pink, I thought that it would probably be smart if I read the original mystery, A Study in Scarlet, to compare. I am so glad I did.
A Study in Scarlet is the first story of Mr. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson in their partnership. They meet; Sherlock irritates Watson; they move in together; they solve a murder; they become ‘colleagues’. That’s more or less the general storyline of the novel.
If you have never read Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson is a military doctor who was injured in the Afghan War and he needs a place to live. Sherlock Holmes is a consulting detective and is the cleverest, most “peculiar” and eccentric man in all of literature, basically. He isn’t a student and he doesn’t have a profession except for that of assisting the Police in solving mysteries when they can’t on their own, and that happens more than you would expect for such an esteemed establishment as Scotland Yard…
The novel mixes together the formality of the Victorian age with the hilarity and impropriety of Holmes’ behavior. He does everything in the name of science and at one point someone says about him that he would probably take an unknown poison just so he could “experience the results” firsthand! However he doesn’t know the simple facts like who the Prime minister at the time is and even that the earth is round and travels around the sun. He saves room in his mind only for what is really necessary to him. His mind is a library of random facts like how to read footprints in mud, a complete map of the streets of London, and an extensive understanding of chemistry. All of the knowledge he possesses is tested when he has to solve a mystery, but he always comes through in the end.
The beginning of the novel is definitely my favorite part. I love the first meeting of Holmes and Watson and then how quickly they become so close and already move in with each other. There is a particularly funny moment when they are eating breakfast together silently, with Watson reading an article from the newspaper to himself. He begins to laugh and says how ridiculous the notion of the piece is, little does he know that Holmes is the author of the article! Conan Doyle is a great writer, clearly illustrating the everyday awkward and funny scenarios that people get themselves into.
The only part I can actually say I dislike is a couple of chapters in the middle. They tell the story of a man and his adopted daughter living in Utah and their troubles with the first group of Mormons. The part is necessary because it’s the back story to the death of the victim and explains a lot, but it’s a lot slower than the rest of the novel and it’s very strange to change your mindset from Victorian England to the US during the time of Westward Expansion and gold mining. I’m not saying the chapters are completely boring, they aren’t, it just takes a long time to get that story rolling.
The murder case is a great one for the beginning of their stories, however. A man from out of town is found dead in an abandoned house and no one knows who he is or how he got there or even how he died. No marks are left on the body, there is evidence that he was not alone, and on the wall there is one word written in blood, “Rache”. They later discover that the word translates to “Revenge” in German, but why revenge? It is remarkable how much Holmes can tell by just walking into the room, but you’ll have to go read it for yourself to find out what it is he learns and the outcome of the murder, but I can tell you it wasn’t the butler.



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This article has 18 comments. Post your own now!

ILOVESHERLOCK said...
Jan. 25, 2012 at 4:29 am
This is an amazing review of A Study In Scarlet. Have you read the other Holmes books? Yes, I did find the part about the article funny - and I share your thoughts on the Utah chapters.
 
ridukuluswritings This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jan. 25, 2012 at 3:29 pm
Thank you so much! I have read several of them and have been thinking about reviewing them so I might just do that!
 
ILOVESHERLOCK replied...
Jan. 28, 2012 at 9:40 pm
Oh, please do! Have you read Silver Blaze? That's one of my favourites and I think you'd be a great reviewer - you're honest and descriptive at the same time!
 
ridukuluswritings This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jan. 29, 2012 at 3:13 pm
Wow, thank you so much! I haven't read that one but I've been meaning to! I think that'll have to be my next one then! :)
 
ILOVESHERLOCK replied...
Jan. 31, 2012 at 7:48 pm
I think we'd be awesome friends, I really do. Looking forward to another review soon - I'll be sure to rate it. (5/5! :) )
 
ILOVESHERLOCK replied...
Feb. 1, 2012 at 2:18 am
Great, will wait for you to email me...oh, hang on, I have to rate this piece too...five stars coming!
 
ridukuluswritings This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Feb. 1, 2012 at 2:45 pm
Haha, thank you again!!!
 
ILOVESHERLOCK replied...
Feb. 5, 2012 at 12:59 am
I like your new online name, and am still waiting for you to email - you'll make my day when you do! Have you seen the second series of the BBC Sherlock yet?
 
ridukuluswritings This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Feb. 5, 2012 at 10:03 am
Haha, thanks!!! And yes! I have! SO MANY EMOTIONS ABOUT IT. I'm writing a fanfic right now of post-Reichenbach reunion...though I don't think I'll post it here ;)
 
ILOVESHERLOCK replied...
Feb. 6, 2012 at 3:27 am
Okay, make sure you send me the link! I want to watch Reichenbach Fall, and I have the episode, but I'm too scared to watch it! If I do, Sherlock will be "dead" and I'll have to suffer ONE YEAR of Sherlocklessness!
 
ridukuluslySHERlocked This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Feb. 6, 2012 at 12:37 pm
Watch it! It's such a great episode! It was the most emotional thing EVER but IT WAS AMAZING. I wasn't gonna watch it either...and pretend that it never happened but I LOVED IT and have seen it 3 more times!! Ahhh! Waaaaatch it! (And yes, I'll send it to you ;) )
 
ILOVESHERLOCK replied...
Feb. 7, 2012 at 5:39 am
Ok. This weekend. Promise. I heard they show Sherlock alive at the end? Awesome! Hey, in The Hound of Baskerville, did you get the VERY end where Mycroft says 'Let him go'? I didn't understand it.
 
ridukuluslySHERlocked This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Feb. 7, 2012 at 11:55 am
Good! Tell me what you think after you watch it! And YES THEY DO! I was so excited about it but so FURIOUS at him!!! And are you talking about the episode or the book? (I'm guessing the episode since it isn't "The Hound of the Baskervilles" but I can't remember that part...I'LL JUST HAVE TO WATCH IT AGAIN! ;D )
 
ILOVESHERLOCK replied...
Feb. 7, 2012 at 7:43 pm
Yep, watch it again, and yeah, I mean the movie. I know, John must have been HEARTBROKEN!
 
ridukuluslySHERlocked This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Feb. 8, 2012 at 6:45 am
I'll watch it this weekend! And you watch Reichenbach and we'll discuss!!! Poor John! I don't even want to think of him going through life for the next 3 years with so much pain.
 
ILOVESHERLOCK replied...
Feb. 8, 2012 at 5:10 pm
Yeah, I wonder if he goes on for 3 years in the BBC version? I couldn't have gone on without Sherlock...*thought brings tears to eyes*
 
ridukuluswritings This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Feb. 8, 2012 at 6:45 pm
Don't even start! I have shed SOOOOOOO many tears over thinking about them and their relationship. IT'S HEARTBREAKING. ALL OF IT. (ps. do you have a Tumblr? mine is ALLLL Sherlock ;D )
 
ILOVESHERLOCK replied...
Feb. 14, 2012 at 4:29 am
No, how do you set up an account? Oh, one more thing, a friend told me to write a BBC Sherlock parody, so I did. It's pending approval right now, so search it in a week or two. It's called 'The Disappearance Of Mrs. Huson.' It's short, sort of like a fan fic!
 
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