The first story that gave life to one of the best fictional detectives – Sherlock Holmes. You already know Sherlock from many books, movies, TV shows, games, graphic novels, even mangas. You might love him, you might not, I’m not going to judge you. What I’m going to do is tell you about a story that started it all.
A Study in Scarlet (Sherlock Holmes #1) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
It all starts with Watson. After all, we wouldn’t have Sherlock without his kick-ass assistant would we?
Watson is back in London after being injured during the war. He’s looking for an apartment to rent and he can’t be luckier. That day an old friend of his recommends Watson to talk to a certain Mr Holmes. Obviously Holmes agrees to share the same flat under 221B Baker Street.
Soon after Watson moves into their new apartment Sherlock gets summoned to help with a case. It’s a case of murder. The body was found in an empty house and inspectors are clueless about what might’ve happened. Or at least most of their suspicions are wrong.
I could go on now with telling you what happened next, but those who read it already know and those who haven’t probably don’t want a spoiler :). The case is curious and Sherlock employs all the means to find who the killer is. Once or twice he gets lucky because the killer wasn’t careful enough, still he’s the only one who joins all the little details together.
A study in scarlet, eh? Why shouldn’t we use a little art jargon. There’s the scarlet thread of murder running through the colourless skein of life, and our duty is to unravel it, and isolate it, and expose every inch of it.
I admit Doyle’s style might need a bit of getting used to. He has a peculiar way of telling Sherlock’s adventures. We see everything through Watson’s eyes, well everything that deals with Sherlock. There are parts of the story that are told from the perspective or other people, mostly the criminals that get caught.
I really enjoyed Watson’s descriptions of Sherlock. The way he lists Holms’ knowledge, how he describes Sherlock’s behavior, for example when he plays his violin. I also find it endearing how he listens with fascination every time Holmes explains his deduction process.
I find it curious most of the criminals Sherlock catches are so willingly telling their stories with every detail, what led them to do it, how they did it. I don’t think I would, I’d rather kept them guessing.
In overall I found this story fascinating, but not perfect. There’s still plenty of books and stories about Sherlock for me to read. We’ll see what will happen next, how much I will like those stories, but I think we’re up to a good start here.
How about you? Have you read Sherlock Holmes stories? Did you like them? What’s your favorite? How about movies, etc?