Review: A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

All hail Conan Doyle!

I enjoyed this, but The Hound of the Baskervilles is still my favourite Holmes novel. There’s something about mutant dogs and crazed butterfly collectors that really get my juices flowing.

This book was fine though. I didn’t particularly enjoy the flashback to Utah, but I see the purpose of it. If they’d just done an extended story telling session it wouldn’t have been half as interesting, so that little section was understandable. I did have to laugh when the foreward informed me that Conan Doyle felt the need to apologise to the Mormons for making them raving, cult-like, bloodthirsty, polygamist rapists. Just a TAD overboard, Artie. Maybe he got it right on the cult qualities for some of them, but I’ve never met a Mormon who tried to steal me and murder my dad, all the while defacing my property and chasing me through the wilderness…

I kept getting myself confused with the Sherlock TV series re-do of the story, A Study in Pink. Curse watching TV shows before reading the books! I see why they updated it for modern audiences, but that one went WAY off track.

Sherlock himself was a bit of an arse in this one, if I’m being perfectly honest. Watson was his ever awesome self. I’ve always liked Watson best, he’s so much more relatable and human. I found Sherlock to be far less likeable that usual in this story, far too gruff and up himself to make me like him too much. Luckily for him, he does evolve a bit and becomes far more enjoyable in later books.

As for the murderer, once the whole story was told, I probably would have let the poor bloke go and bought him a nice, stiff drink. He needed it!

The whole book was structured weirdly, and I’m pretty sure Conan Doyle hadn’t fallen into his groove yet, but I still enjoyed this book. Maybe if I were Mormon I’d be really annoyed by it, but I’m sure many would realise this is a total product of it’s time. I have a few more Sherlock Holmes books to read, which is a bit exciting!

3.5/5 Stars

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7 thoughts on “Review: A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

  1. Heh, this was actually the first Sherlock Holmes story I ever read (I’m a little obsessive about reading them in chronological order, though I definitely haven’t read them all). It definitely feels different than the others, though. Nice to learn that he apologized to the Mormons! I wasn’t offended per se (like you said, maybe if I were Mormon I would have been), but it did make me laugh a bit–the tone was kind of on the hysterical side.

    • I totally didn’t realise there was an order before I read this book 😛 oops! Usually I’m the same.
      Yeah I think it was good of him to apologize, he possibility did them huge PR damage :/ I agree, definitely a bit on the hysterical side! Though, I did kind of like that section, he did do well with the setting and whatnot, it just felt weird in the book!

      • Well, I suppose there’s actually technically two chronological orders–the order they were written in and the order they take place in. I doubt I would have bothered if I hadn’t been reading from an edition that already included them in order; once I’d started reading them that way, I guess I felt like I’d made a commitment 🙂

        Anyway, I definitely agree that the Mormon section was interesting–maybe partly because it was so different from what I would usually associate with Sherlock Holmes. It was kind of fun to discover that the stories weren’t all about fog and high society.

  2. I’m glad to hear you enjoyed this one. I have been really enjoying the Sherlock short story collections but sadly this is the only novel I have read. I really must get round to reading the others.

  3. Pingback: Classics Club Challenge | bookarahma

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