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A Study in Scarlet (Illustrated Classics): A Sherlock Holmes Graphic Novel Paperback – February 11, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Arthur Conan Doyle's Study in Scarlet is the first published story involving the legendary Sherlock Holmes, arguably the world's best-known detective, and the first narrative by Holmes's Boswell, the unassuming Dr. Watson, a military surgeon lately returned from the Afghan War. Watson needs a flat-mate and a diversion. Holmes needs a foil. And thus a great literary collaboration begins.

Watson and Holmes move to a now-famous address, 221B Baker Street, where Watson is introduced to Holmes's eccentricities as well as his uncanny ability to deduce information about his fellow beings. Somewhat shaken by Holmes's egotism, Watson is nonetheless dazzled by his seemingly magical ability to provide detailed information about a man glimpsed once under the streetlamp across the road.

Then murder. Facing a deserted house, a twisted corpse with no wounds, a mysterious phrase drawn in blood on the wall, and the buffoons of Scotland Yard--Lestrade and Gregson--Holmes measures, observes, picks up a pinch of this and a pinch of that, and generally baffles his faithful Watson. Later, Holmes explains: "In solving a problem of this sort, the grand thing is to be able to reason backward.... There are few people who, if you told them a result, would be able to evolve from their own inner consciousness what the steps were which led up to that result." Holmes is in that elite group.

Conan Doyle quickly learned that it was Holmes's deductions that were of most interest to his readers. The lengthy flashback, while a convention of popular fiction, simply distracted from readers' real focus. It is when Holmes and Watson gather before the coal fire and Holmes sums up the deductions that led him to the successful apprehension of the criminal that we are most captivated. Subsequent Holmes stories--The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Return of Sherlock Holmes, and The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes--rightly plunge the twosome directly into the middle of a baffling crime, piling mystery upon mystery until Holmes's denouement once more leaves the dazzled Watson murmuring, "You are wonderful, Holmes!" Generations of readers agree. --Barbara Schlieper --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 7-12-In the first of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Dr. Watson, discharged from military service after suffering wounds, is at loose ends until a chance encounter leads him to take rooms with Sherlock Holmes. When Watson is drawn into the investigation of a bizarre murder in which Holmes is involved, he is unaware that it is the beginning of the most famous partnership in the history of criminal detection.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Illustrated Classics
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Sterling; Reprint edition (February 11, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402770820
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402770821
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (301 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,445,742 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By LeeHoFooks on August 16, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was the first Sherlock Holmes story I had ever read. I always thought the Sherlock Holmes stories were about a generic genius detective and his kind-of-bumbling sidekick. Was I ever wrong! The characters have so many more dimensions than their pop culture portrayals would lead one to believe.

Yes, Holmes is a genius... when it comes to solving crimes. He's a knowledgeable chemist and forensics specialist, he's a skilled actor and boxer, and his powers in deductive reasoning are superb. He also isn't aware that the Earth revolves around the sun. When he finds out, he simply says that he'll forget it later. (It serves no purpose for detective work.) Did I mention that he suffers from what we would today call bipolar disorder? Oh yeah -- he's also developing a cocaine habit.

And Watson? He's the overweight, bumbling goof that follows Holmes around and has to have simple things explained to him, right? Not so. Watson is a physician, and a wounded veteran of an early British Army campaign in Afghanistan. He came home to London, suffering from what we would today call PTSD, and moved in with an eccentric friend of a friend who needed a roommate who turned out to be Holmes. He's a well-educated person and the perfect Victorian gentleman -- a fitting character to partner with and complement the odd-but-brilliant Holmes.

As for the story, I don't want to give away too much. (It is a mystery, after all.) But I will say the surprising plot turns kept me reading, without seeming like the twists for the sake of twists many mysteries and thrillers plague their readers with. (You should take note, James Patterson.) A story is framed within the main story -- a Western tale of revenge within a Victorian murder mystery, believe it or not. And the killer is just as deep and 3-dimensional as the detectives. But I've said too much. Go read it for yourself!
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Albert J. Valentino on November 30, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A Study in Scarlet is the first story introducing Sherlock Holmes to the world and how Watson and the great detective first meet and become roommates. It is also the first book I read on my first/new Kindle.

Kindle Edition: This version cost me 99 cents and was money very well spent. It is nicely formatted with the 'Go To' letting you go to the Table of Contents - not all older Kindle books do that. The TOC does have workable links to go to each chapter but you cannot use the left - right ends of the 5 way controller to flip to each chapter - not a big deal. Other than the cover photo of Holmes by Sidney Paget this version does not include any illustrations.

The Story: A Study in Scarlet is the first story in the Holmes Canon, and includes how Watson and Holmes meet.... 'This is a novel, not a short story'. The second story in the canon is also a novel, A The Sign of the Four. This was then followed by the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes which is a book of short stories beginning with, A Scandal in Bohemia. Later on Doyle penned two other novels including the well known, Hound of the Baskervilles - actually written after he killed off Holmes in the story, The Final Problem (last story in 'The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes' but the pubic demanded his return so many more stories were written - Holmes comes back in The Adventure of the Empty House, the first story in book "The Return of Sherlock Holmes". I do suggest that one begin their reading with A Study in Scarlet followed by The Sign of Four as this novel gets into how Holmes mind needs stimulation and when not on a case he lapses into injecting his 7% solution (there is a movie of this title).
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Dustin on October 26, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was a great book; I highly recommend it to anyone who likes detective stories or mysteries. It's pretty short, so you can read it quickly. I've read the other Sherlock Holmes books, but I really like this one because it introduces the characters and you get to know their personalities. The story is an incredible one with such a strange background I could never have thought it up. Definitely worth a read!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By B. J. Taylor on July 8, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I absolutely adored this book! I recommend it to young adult and older due to murder and a large vocabulary. Honestly the only reason I read this book was because of the new BBC Sherlock television show. I thought this would be somewhat similar but it isn't really. In fact just read it yourself! I give it 5 stars and my only complaint is that although you can find out the definition for old words (which is awesome and really handy) there are about two instances in which John and Sherlock speak Roman and I have no idea what they are saying but other than that no complaints!!!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Matt Hetling on February 6, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Meet Sherlock Holmes. Hopelessly eccentric, devastatingly brilliant, and seemingly born of a supernatural ability to accomplish what he sets his mind to, the world's greatest detective has devoted himself to the pursuit of criminals. By matching wits with both the criminals he hunts and the official police inspectors, Holmes has found a pasttime that has a neverending series of puzzles on which he can train his amazing powers of observation and deduction.

We're all familiar with this character, and that's because, a hundred years after Holmes was first unveiled to the public, he continues to gather new readers. An icon who has spawned dozens of stereotypes, Holmes has a universal appeal that still fascinates us, even though the world of crimefighting has transformed itself entirely.

For the modern reader, the writing is stiff and takes some getting used to. Watson's buffoonish amazement at every word Holmes utters is comical, and the pronouncements of the great detective seem arrogant and, at times, obvious or self-serving. But make no mistake. There's some magic in these writings.

This particular edition (I have the 1975 printing) is a very nice introduction to Holmes, beginning as it does with the first two stories which made the character famous. Young readers in particular should enjoy the immersion in Victorian England, and the exposure to this great character's methods. Highly recommended.
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