Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Sherlock Holmes: A Study in Scarlet

by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

In this short novel the world is introduced to Sherlock Holmes and his new roommate Dr. Watson. When you've seen dozens of movie and tv renditions of this famous detective, it's a little hard to start reading the books without any pre-conceived notions, but I've wanted to read them to get an idea of the character that Doyle imagined. Here's what you get from the first story: Sherlock is smart, he gathers lots of information, but only that which he deems valuable to advance his profession, he assists the top Scotland Yard detectives, his powers of observation are on steroids and he might possibly be manic-depressive.

The Study in Scarlet presents Holmes with two murders and he determines to take Watson under his wing to prove the power of observation in resolving mysteries. And so in the first half we get it all, right up to the arrest of the murderer, which is abruptly interrupted with part II that fills us in on all the back story that led up to the murders. In this case it stems from issues within the Mormon church, so we learn a great lot about their settling in Salt Lake City and a bit about their hierarchy, which doesn't paint too good a light on the Mormon's, but makes a good motive for these murders. And then, just as suddenly, Holmes is wrapping it all up in a neat little package and passing it off as elementary.

This is a fun and quick introduction to Sherlock Holmes. 

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