A Study in Scarlet

Rating: 3 stars

It’s been a while since I last posted a book review as I’ve been busy with work. I recently took a break from reading YA Fantasy and reading good old authors. To say that I’m disappointed with YA would be an understatement.

“To begin at the beginning.” 

It’s in the initial novel where characters Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson were introduced to readers in their first case together within which they investigate a murder of a man found in an abandoned house. A study in scarlet begins with Dr John Watson locating in London to recover from a wound and illness he sustained whereas operating as a military doctor during the Second Afghan War. While at a bar he runs into an old acquaintance, Stamford. Watson confides he isn’t able to afford a decent apartment on his scarce pension and needs a new arrangement. Stamford takes Watson to the university laboratory where Sherlock Holmes was working on an experiment who works as a ‘consultant detective’, the first and only in the world. His assistance is required if not crucial for solving crimes in London.

The second half begins with a vivid description of the wild and isolated American desert. The two travellers John Ferrier and his adopted daughter Lucy who struggles to survive after the deaths of their companions were rescued by The Latter Day Saints, a colossal caravan, on their exodus. Their leader Brigham Young allowed him and Lucy to travel with them once he agreed to convert. The caravan then continued to Utah.

I read all the Sherlock Holmes short stories last year and I loved Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s writing and decided to read the novels.

“It’s quite exciting,” said Sherlock Holmes, with a yawn.” 

This is precisely how I felt while I read it. Holmes was able to solve the case with astonishing speed attributable to his uncanny deduction skills. The first half of the novel was great and I loved Sherlock Holmes and John Watson as characters. However, as the story proceeded, it utterly changes its course and begins the introduction of the murderer’s backstory and motives involving Mormons, polygamy, violence and Brigham Young about which I failed to care at all. The part where the culprit explained his background and reasons to commit murders, could’ve been less intricate.

I also watched the popular TV series, Sherlock, a few days back and I didn’t enjoy it a bit. I hated it. the best thing about Sherlock homes is that it was set in a Victorian era. I felt all the stories were twisted and mixed along to create a dramatic effect. The modern uptake on Sir Doyle’s work was comprehensive, however, all episodes had a below average plot. All episodes were extended to the point of boredom except for one or two instances. However, the acting, the direction along with the background score, was in all probability one among the strongest points of the series. Benedict Cumberbatch delivers superbly the air of superiority about Sherlock and Martin Freeman as John Watson plays an ideal counterpart to Sherlock’s unconventional disposition. I’m convinced it’s solely popular because of the lead actors within the series. I, however, enjoyed the movies and I can’t wait for the third movie to be released.

“They say that genius is an infinite capacity for taking pains,” he remarked with a smile. “It’s a very bad definition, but it does apply to detective work.” 


Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, whether you would’ve watched the show if not for Benedict Cumberbatch sir.

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P.S. Ramadan Mubarak to all my Muslim followers!


 

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25 thoughts on “A STUDY IN SCARLET by SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE

  1. I haven’t read A study in Scarlet yet, only The Hound of the Baskervilles.I have been on the lookout for the Sherlock book to read. I decided to read the books because of the series – hardly ever happens – and yes I am mad obsessed with Benedict Cumberbatch, I really enjoy all aspects of the series, I think it’s brilliant. I haven’t seen the movies, what do you think of them?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember reading this years ago and not understanding the second half at all.. but I listened to it again last year and it made some sense… but definitely it was dragged on unnecessarily….
    my favorite book still remains The Hound of Baskervilles… I’ve read it countless times 😍😍😍
    As for the show, I totally agree with you…. it’s popular only because of the actors… Benedict Cumberbatch just brings Sherlock to life and it’s awesome to watch !!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think Sherlock Holmes works best in short story form. Holmes doesn’t actually have that much of a character or interests apart from his work, and Watson isn’t all that much better. So, character development? If you’re going to have it, as in the novels, it has to be about other people, and whether you care for them or not is completely independent of your feelings about Holmes and Watson. So, give me Holmes and Watson as Holmes solves a puzzle from a small number of easy-to-miss clues!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree Holmes works best in short story form and there isn’t much character development. since the novels are lengthy and the mystery is solved halfway through the book, it had to be about other characters. The absence of Holmes and Watson is what I dislike.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. OMG, I completely agree with all your points and super surprised to see people loving the show and the books. Not that they’re so bad but like you said, solving the crime before the second half kills the suspense. Sherlock Holmes skills are astonishing and they deserve a lot better, I guess perhaps Doyle was more concerned with exploring the motivations of criminals but with a first half like that, it’s like being thrown into a different subject that you didn’t even sign up for in the first place.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally agree. Even in other stories, this pattern continues. The crime is committed, the criminal is caught and then that tedious backstory of the criminal. It kills the story. I feel lost and like I started reading a new book without knowing it.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s been a while since I read (and enjoyed) the books. This makes me want to read more. Never gave the show a try though. I’m not overly fond of the executive producer but maybe I should give it a go 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “to say that I’m disappointed with YA would be an understatement.” Ah yeah, same here; I’ve been going back to historical and literary fiction recently as a result. And I like your review! I haven’t read this particular story, but I can see where your gripes with it lie. Also, I agree that Sherlock is popular more for its lead actors than anything else; the story is overly dramatic at times, although the wit is what keeps me coming back to it. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Hmm, top of my head, I’d recommend Shadow of the Wind or Golem and the Jinni if you haven’t read them already! I think they’re quite digestible for YA readers (fun and interesting plots), but also lots of cerebral stuff to chew over. Also, I’m currently reading The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock, which is turning out to be one of the best books I’ve read this year. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Shadow of the Wind or Golem and the Jinni are on my TBR already! I’m currently reading Percy Jackson and I might read one of these once I finish this series. The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock also sounds interesting.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I had a good time reading both as I love Holmes and Watson. Some short stories were really good and I felt if novels could’ve been cut short and made into short stories. Novels were unnecessary lengthy.

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  7. Thanks for The Kudos but as a more mature writer I avoid the words awesome & amazing. Writers who use these words need a Webster’s.

    That being said I looked in at your site and read your “review” of A Study In Scarlet. I think you were distracted by a plot device.

    A Study In Scarlet originated as a series in The Strand Magazine and each chapter was intended as an episode, we would say Blog entry.

    It was only later when readers demanded “more” the complete novel was published.

    He follows this same style in The Sign of The Four & …, but you can skip over On The Alkali Plain & still enjoy the story of The Murder of Enoch Drebber.

    Hollywood has employed this device in many hit movies the most outstanding example would be GodFather Part II. When they do it it’s called a flash back.

    ACD’s fourth novel Hound of The Baskervilles employs this device as The Legend of The Baskervilles, as read by Doctor Mortimer.

    In my opinion you should go back and reread A Study …. and consider rewriting your review as a recommendation to a reader instead of an assignment, trying to “prove to the reader” you did indeed “read the book”.

    My first exposure to ACD was The Speckled Band at the time my teacher was introducing our class to the genre of short stories.

    We learned not everyone is cutout to write War & Peace.

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    1. “Thanks for The Kudos but as a more mature writer I avoid the words awesome & amazing. Writers who use these words need a Webster’s.” If it concerns me, I haven’t used these words in my review and avoid using, anyway.

      “A Study In Scarlet originated as a series in The Strand Magazine and each chapter was intended as an episode, we would say Blog entry.
      It was only later when readers demanded “more” the complete novel was published.” I wasn’t aware of this so thank you for letting me know.

      “In my opinion you should go back and reread A Study …. and consider rewriting your review as a recommendation to a reader instead of an assignment, trying to “prove to the reader” you did indeed “read the book”. I don’t have to read the book again. I understood the plot well enough in first read. What I meant in my review was, I, as a reader, don’t enjoy reading flashbacks and as an individual I’m entitled to like or dislike anything. Secondly, I don’t read books or write reviews to prove anyone. I read because I enjoy reading and I write because it may polish my writing skills.

      Have a good day, sir!

      Like

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