I recently finished reading an 86 page mystery novel titled A Study in Scarlet, written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is most famously known as the author of the Sherlock Holmes series, including this novel, his first in the series of many. He was a Scottish writer, but he earned a Bachelor degree in Medicine. This book A Study in Scarlet was then published in 1877. The characters Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are some of the most famous detectives of all time and writing this series was probably Sir Arthur’s greatest achievement. Obviously, I had heard of Sherlock Holmes, but I had never actually seen the movies or read the book on Sherlock’s great adventures. This was just one of the factors that encouraged me to read the books. Also, my friend wanted me to read books, and I want to complete the 8k page challenge and my next reading genre just happened to be mystery. This book just so happened to be the next book I would read.
It all starts when Dr.Watson graduates from the University of London and is looking for a comfortable place to stay, but at a reasonable price. He meets a friend and while chatting, this problem comes up. His friend immediately recalls Mr. Sherlock Holmes also looking for a place to stay, but a reasonable price. He suggests that they share an apartment, and a new friendship sparks immediately. One day, Mr. Sherlock Holmes receives a letter telling of a strange murder, that other detectives are having problems solving. He decides to go to the crime scene to see if he could of use, and invites Dr.Watson to come with him. When they arrive, Sherlock takes out a measuring tape and starts to look at clues. He takes precise measurements and takes a while to investigate. Dr. Watson, on the other hand gets a bit shaken by the crime scene, for he is not used to being at crime scenes. Sherlock is able to identify many features of the murderer through the few given clues and through deductive reasoning. Mr. Sherlock Holmes surprises many people, especially Dr.Watson and the other detectives on the case, through out the story with his thinking. Continue following Dr.Watson, and most importantly Mr. Sherlock Holmes, solve a mystery that no one else can, in The Study in Scarlet and in the whole Sherlock Holmes series. Help them to identify and catch the murderer when no one else can.
The narrative voice is different in this novel than in most books. Instead of being told from the main character’s perspective (Mr.Sherlock Holmes’s) it is being told by his assistant and friend (Dr.Watson). I though that this was not only interesting, but also impacted conflicts through out the book differently. Although Mr Sherlock Holmes is able to create a hypothesis as to who the murderer is early on in the story, Dr.Watson had no clue as to who had committed the crime. This specifically makes it more mysterious and questioning for readers since Dr.Watson doesn’t know who the murderer is, but Sherlock has an idea as to who it was. Being in Watson’s perspective rather than Sherlock’s leaves readers in the dark for most of the story. This makes it more mysterious and questioning for readers. It also impacts the plot because Dr.Watson doesn’t follow Sherlock everywhere. Sometimes when Sherlock goes out to gather more information to support his hypothesis, Dr.Watson is left to read or think in their apartment. This impacts the plot because Dr.Watson doesn’t gain all the knowledge that Sherlock does and without all that information Dr.Watson isn’t able to figure out who the murderer is as easily as Sherlock could.
After reading a biography on the author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, I was surprised to learn more about his life. I was very surprised to learn that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle pursued a degree in medics. I found this interesting because in the first sentence in the novel, Dr.Watson tells us that he graduated from the University of London with a degree in Medicine. I realized that this information on the author was very significant to the book because Watson is a doctor and in the book he is able to interpret clues with medical knowledge. Due to the author’s knowledge in medics, he was able to create a character that contained all his knowledge. This could be one of the reasons why Sir Arthur wrote his books in Watson’s perspective rather then Sherlock’s, because he could relate to Watson more than he could to Sherlock.
“‘Come along now, Doctor,’ he said ,’we shall look him up. I’ll tell you one thing which may help you in the case,’ he continued, turning to the two detectives. ‘There has been murderer done, and the murderer was a man. He was no more than six feet high, was the prime of life, had small feet for his height, wore coarse, squared-toed boots and smoked a Trichinopoly cigar…These are only a few indications, but they may assist you.'”
In this passage Sherlock gives Lestrade and Gregson, two other detectives, some clues as to who the murderer is. I was no doubt, struck by awe in this paragraph, especially since it was my first time reading about Sherlock Holmes and had not been exposed to his investigative process. I was very surprised how Mr. Sherlock could depict these important fact within the single room and withing the time given. He was specifically able to depict how tall a man was based on the height of his writing. This really surprised me and I wouldn’t have even thought about Sherlock’s logic. this is only one of the many amazing examples of Sherlock’s thought process throughout this story and the series. It just intrigued me so much to learn about his reasoning strategy, and I wouldn’t be able to solve a mystery like Sherlock with out his amazing way to reason.
I loved the novel so much and I really like how the author wrote from a different perspective than most authors. I thought it was also really interesting to know more about the author’s connection to the narrator and to learn about Sherlock’s way of reasoning. I would rate this book either a nine or ten out of ten. I definitely recommend that you read this novel and the whole series, for it is very captivating and I learned a lot. So if you are looking for a good read, I think you just found it!