Study in Scarlet

Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan. “A Study in Scarlet”. The Complete Sherlock Holmes. New York: Doubleday, 1930.

Reason read: Doyle died July 7th 1930. Read in honor of his passing.

Confessional: in Book Lust Pearl lists The Complete Sherlock Holmes but what she doesn’t say is that it’s a canon of sixty stories – four novels and 56 short stories totaling 1122 pages. I knew it would be impossible to read 1122 pages in 31 days – even if it would be the only thing I read in July I still wouldn’t finish it. In addition I couldn’t stand the thought of attempting something so boring. I need to visit other characters from time to time. So, my plan is this, read each work separately. I began with the first novel of the collection, “A Study in Scarlet.”

Study in Scarlet is in two parts. Part one: “Being a Reprint from the Reminiscences of John H. Watson, M.D., Late of the Army Medical Department.” It’s here that Dr. Watson and Mr. Sherlock Holmes meet for the first time. Watson, arriving in London and  needing a place to stay, learns of Holmes looking to share his apartment. From the very beginning they are thrown together in a murder mystery. Watson is astounded by Holmes’s ability to deduce facts from the smallest pieces of evidence.

Part two: “Country of the Saints” steps back in time and tells the story of the Brigham Young and the Mormons settling in the plains of Utah. John Ferrier meets up with the four elders, Stangerson, Kemball, Jonston & Drebber and they take him and his young companion in. This story sets the backdrop for the murder mystery Holmes is trying to solve.

Quotes. First where the title of the story comes from: “There is a 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” (p 36). Second, one of Sherlock’s most quoted utterances: “…where there is no imagination there is no horror” (p 37).

Author fact: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle died of a heart attack.

Book trivia: A Study in Scarlet is less than 100 pages long.

BookLust Twist (not really): from Book Lust in the chapter called “I Love A Mystery” (p 123).


2 Comments on “Study in Scarlet”

  1. bookowly says:

    I read few of the Sherock stories last year and I was surprised how boring I found them. I have always loved the idea of Sherlock, but haven’t really had any books, so this was a first and while Study in Scarlet was kind of fine, the other stories were just so slow and with so many useless details and not enough right details to make it out.

    I think that this is the first time I have to say that the BBC TV series seem better than the stories I read (oh, no!). Hard to say about the movies as they are not really that much based on what I read. The Russian TV I’ve seen when I was a kid, so cannot really say anything about that.

  2. Maria H. says:

    I am reading the Sherlock Stories one at a time too, usually on my phone when I have forgotten my Kindle. In the last two years I’m probably only about 40% of the way through the compilation, but I think this one was the best story, so far. I agree that the BBC show is awesome.


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