A Study in Scarlet, Arthur Conan Doyle – Book Review


Title: A Study in Scarlet
Author: Arthur Conan Doyle
Genre: mystery, crime, classic
Order in series: Book # 1 in a series
Release Date: 1887
Length: 135 pages
(total of 14 chapters as 2 parts)


The very first of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries, A Study in Scarlet reveals the early days of Holmes and Watson’s friendship, and exactly how the former doctor became involved in a life of crime-solving.
A body is found in a grimy house in south London, its face twisted by fear and horror, with the word ‘RACHE’ scrawled on the wall in blood beside it – yet the corpse itself is completely unscathed. How did this man meet such a strange and terrible end? The answer is darker than anyone could imagine.

1st sentence

In the year 1878 I took my degree of Doctor of Medicine of the University of London, and proceeded to Netley to go through the course prescribed for surgeons in the army.

What made me get it and thoughts on the cover

What— Since I was very young I used to hear about Sherlock Holmes and how smart he was and that he’s a fictional detective who can solve just about any case, and then I remember in 7th grade we took one of Holmes’ short stories (The Speckled Band) and I loved it, of course after that I watched many TV and movie adaptations revolving around the characters of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson. This year I felt the urge to actually start reading the books so I asked a friend of mine to make me a bookmark that suits the series (she did two amazing bookmarks) and started to buy Doyle’s work.

The cover — Since Penguin has all 4 of the main novels in the Penguin English Library edition I had to get them. I love the design of the front, back and spine and the feel of the book when reading is great.

My thoughts

At first it felt very weird to read the characters I’m familiar with having their own dialogues in paper and honestly, it took me a while to stop imagining Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman voicing Holmes and Watson in my head. After I forced myself to focus on just the book and the characters as they are described in the book I felt more at ease.

This is the first book in the series so we get to see how Watson first met Sherlock and the first case they solved together (well it was more Sherlock solving everything all on his own and then nonchalantly explaining the ‘how he knew’ in the end).
There’s a reason why Arthur Conan Doyle’s character became so popular. Reading it in 2017, after being familiar with lots of mystery twists, it still managed to keep me hooked and eager to know the reveal.

Confession: I was very confused when I started Part 2 (the second half of the book). I kept on reading the synopsis to check if there’s two stories in here rather than one ’cause so suddenly we’re introduced to new characters in the middle of the desert that had nothing to do with part 1. It hit me after a few pages that the last names of the characters were the ones of the dead person and suspect of the case.
So the author brought us to years before the incident to see what led the murderer to kill the two men the way he did. (I did like this tactic of showing us the true motive of the killing then going back to the present with Sherlock revealing who killed and how).

Oh and where’s Mrs. Hudson?


I can’t wait to continue with the series. This first book is very short so please do give it a try.    5/5 stars

‘I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skilful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.’

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