A Study in Scarlet

A Study in Scarlet  -  Arthur Conan Doyle

Reading 'A Study in Scarlet' I saw how it became a hit and also why my professor didn't assign it along with other Holmes stories when I took British Detective Fiction. Parts of the story's content is unusual and Watson and Holmes was a great pairing from the start, but on the other hand, Holmes is extra douchey in his exposition. And not in a "oh, what a lovable eccentric curmudgeon" kind of way, either.

I also can't get the BBC's 'Sherlock' turnabout on Doyle's more absurd plot elements out of my mind. I can't help thinking about how much more interesting the audiovisual Holmes is in comparison to this stuffy, self-centered drawing-room bore. "Oh yes please, tell me more about the soil composition of East London!"

And then the story shifted to 19th century Mormon country. Thankfully Doyle writes of the establishment of Utah as the Mormon promised land as if it were the establishment of some authoritarian Soviet Bloc nation. Objectionable as some may find this it makes an otherwise complete waste of time interesting. Thankfully mystery writers would work on making the motive behind a crime at least as interesting as the crime itself.

I'm teetering on this one. Aside from the significance of 'Scarlet' being the first Holmes adventure there isn't much to recommend it, but I can't consider it a total wash as so much better did follow.


Sherlock Holmes


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