Sunday, July 26, 2015

A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

genre: mystery

When Dr. John Watson goes to meet a prospective new roommate, he has no idea that the quirky man he meets in a hospital lab will change his life.  But that's because he doesn't know Sherlock Holmes yet.  Sherlock who is brilliant and crazy observant, capable and Oh So Sure of Himself.   Sherlock who can make a string of deductions that would make your head swim.  It isn't long that the new inhabitants of 221B Baker Street are thick in a case involving a murdered man with no wounds, a wedding ring, and some letters written on a wall in blood.  As Dr. Watson watches Sherlock use his mad skills, he comes to realize he has become the companion of London's Finest Detective.

Since I have already watched all three seasons of the BBC series Sherlock, I had a vague sense of the mystery and its resolution, so I didn't really read this book for the PLOT, necessarily.  I read it more to have a sense of the canon and to get to know Sherlock Holmes as he was actually envisioned by Conan Doyle.  Truth: I like Benedict Cumberbatch better ;)  However, I can absolutely see why people who love mysteries are drawn to him - it's a fascinating bent on the genre, the idea of someone using minute details to form grander hypotheses instead of just using clues.   I did NOT like the giant backstory in the middle all about how newly settled Mormons were kidnapping people and holding them hostage in Salt Lake City and murdering non-believers, etc.    If it hadn't been about my own ancestors, I wouldn't appreciated the way it fleshed out the motives of the killer, instead it just annoyed me.  The writing itself is just good.  I had to find a pen to underline the dialogue and thoughts that stood out to me - thoughts both intellectually interesting as well as the the little snippets that teach us about Sherlock as a person.

I am glad I've got one Sherlock Holmes under my belt.  I don't usually go for murder mystery stories (unless they have Benedict Cumberbatch in them) but I feel like I'm in the mood, I'd go for another :)

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