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

4.4 out of 5 stars 349 customer reviews

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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 the Kindle Edition edition.

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 the Kindle Edition edition.
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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 (349 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,404,729 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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This is the second time I have read A Study In Scarlet. The first was many years ago. I know Conan Doyle has detractors but you have to admit, love him or hate him, he created one of the most famous and iconic characters in British literature. I know in most cases mysteries are not considered literature but a lower form of entertainment. I'm sorry but I do not buy that. I have spent many hours of my life reading mysteries and I regret none of it. I realize Wilkie Collins and others wrote mysteries that are considered more literature-like but Conan Doyle created characters that to this day are still appearing in film, television and books. In this novel Conan Doyle introduces Sherlock Holmes, John Watson, Mrs. Hudson, Lestrade and the Baker Street Irregulars. This is the origin to the whole mythology of Holmes and Watson. Not to mention the intriguing murder plot which Holmes has figured out pretty much from the beginning. I relish Conan Doyle's time spent with Holmes and Watson in nineteenth century London but I also appreciate the back story provided to explain the denoument in Holmes' time. This novel introduces many people without dragging. Right from the start it illustrates Holmes' skill in the art of deduction and Watson's unwavering drive to record it. Some may not like Holmes but I find that his quirks flesh him out and make him more human, for he is not infallible and he certainly is not perfect. I think ultimately that the greatest problem one has reading Conan Doyle is the feeling of envy. How much of an adventure life would be to accompany Sherlock Holmes anywhere and then make the subsequent activities available for public consumption. I know this is all fictional but can you imagine?
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