Book #68

A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Convalescing in London after a disastrous experience of war in Afghanistan, Dr John Watson finds himself sharing rooms with his enigmatic new acquaintance, Sherlock Holmes. But their quiet bachelor life at 221B Baker Street is soon interrupted by the grisly discovery of a dead man in a grimy ‘ill-omened’ house in south-east London, his face contorted by an expression of horror and hatred such as Watson has never seen before. On the wall, the word rache – German for ‘revenge’ – is written in blood, yet there are no wounds on the victim or signs of a struggle. Watson’s head is in a whirl, but the formidable Holmes relishes this challenge to his deductive powers, and so begins their famous investigative partnership.

I read The Hound of the Baskervilles last year and loved it, so I went out and bought the Sherlock Holmes collection. This is the first story ever written about the most famous detective duo, and it was lovely to see how they came together. Watson's descriptions of his first impressions of Holmes were fascinating, and reading the beginnings of characterisation work for both of them was exciting.

I really enjoy Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's writing; he is wonderfully precise and almost scientific in his use of words. He captures your attention so well and drags you into the mystery with him. He is incredibly engaging.

Just as the murderer is caught, the narrative goes back in time by twenty years and we are given the back-story to the killer and his victims. There is nothing quite like an insight into what has driven a murderer to act, especially when it is an act of revenge. I do love a revenge tale.

It was also interesting to see Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's opinions and views on Mormonism at the time. The facts in the book regarding the religion are far from accurate, and seem ridiculous at times, but they are quite consistent with the English opinion of the late 1880s, which is very interesting

I absolutely adore reading these works, and particularly love imagining Victorian cobblestoned streets and men riding around in horse and carts with huge moustaches and huge cigars! I can't wait to read the next one, The Sign of Four.

68 / 66 books. 103% done!