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A Study in Scarlet (The Sherlock Holmes Reference Library) Paperback – January 1, 2001
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About the Author
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1859. He abandoned a promising medical career for the life of a full-time author. Without a doubt, the famous detective Sherlock Holmes is his most popular creation. However, in addition to detective stories, Doyle wrote historical romances, tales of horror and the supernatural, and was a pioneer in the field of Science Fiction. In his later years, Doyles increasing devotion to Spiritualism became his primary mission in life, and he travelled the world as an evangelist for his beliefs. He was knighted in 1902, and died in 1930.
Leslie S. Klinger
is an avid Sherlockian collector and scholar. He is the author of Life and Times of Mr. Sherlock Holmes, John H. Watson, M.D., Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Other Notable Personages: A Table of Major Events, co-author of The Date Being?: A Compendium of Chronological Data, co-compiler of the Index to Ronald DeWaals Universal Sherlock Holmes, and numerous articles on the Canon. Les is invested in the Baker Street Irregulars as The Abbey Grange and is a member of many domestic and international societies devoted to Arthur Conan Doyle and the Great Detective. He teaches a course on Sherlock Holmes and His World for UCLA Extension and has lectured at several Sherlockian conferences. He also practices law in Los Angeles, where he lives with his wife Sharon Flaum Klinger. They have five children, two dogs, and a cat.
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Top Customer Reviews
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!
I turned out enjoying it much more than I thought I would. Doyle does a great job of drawing you in and making you curious not only about Holmes (who is quite the lovable wacko) but also Watson, whose narration is a lot more interesting than a blank camera looking at Holmes, which is what I expected.
There is a story within the story, which totally threw me for a loop and made me think for a second there were two completely separate stories within the novella, but it gets tied in very nicely and it all makes perfect sense in the end. Overall, glad I delved a little deeper into Holmes than the obvious pop culture versions I know of the character. I'd like to read more of Doyle's Holmes stories in the future.
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). His 7% solution is the ratio of cocaine in his syringe where he shoots up to pass the time.
This original/first story/novel has two parts with Part 1, narrated by Watson, on how Holmes uses his powers of observation and deduction to solve a double murder. Part II may start off a bit confusing to the reader since it is not narrated by Watson. It takes the reader back to another place, in an earlier time leaving the reader to first scratch his head wondering if this is a different book. What part 2 is is a detailed backstory for the motivation of the murders in part 1. Well written but it does take up over a third of the book before returning to present time.
A Study in Scarlet was never made into a movie or TV show because of the way it portrays the early Mormons - which is the way they were believed to be at the time of the writings. Study in Pink, in the new, 2011 BBC Masterpiece TV series, Sherlock, is a modern story loosely based on this book but leaves out this part. There is a movie from the 30's with this title but it is not the same story.
Bottom line, this is the first book introducing the eccentric Holmes and it's a real page turner. This Kindle edition is well formatted for Kindle but does not include illustrations. There is a reason why 120 years later this is a still widely read. It is a must read for any fan of the most famous detective that never lived. After reading this pick up Sign of Four, then short stories in The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The central murder is overwhelmed by its pulpy backstory, the chain of deductive reasoning used to reach the identity of the killer...Read more