Like another reviewer, I got that Stephen Fry collection of Sherlock Holmes. I have read a few of the novels fairly recently, so I will skipping those, but I hadn’t read A Study in Scarlet before. I will tell you straight off I have a hard time being unbiased about Sherlock Holmes so I will likely give all them a pretty high review score, and well, I think we’ll all be ok on the other side of it.
I suppose there’s not a lot of new things to add about this book since it starts off the career of the most prolific and famous literary character of all time. It’s true of course that no single of the books or stories is so iconic that it stands out as the most famous book ever or the best book ever or anything like that. I am reading Hamlet with 12th graders right now, and I think that one takes the cake. I will review that one in their words later on.
But this one starts us off. It literally has the meeting of the two main characters, John Watson and Sherlock, when Watson fresh from a stint in the Anglo-Afghan War (seriously when will we just leave them alone for a decade) and is looking for lodgings. Rather than moving into Sherlock Holmes’s apartment, the two are introduced as potential roommates to go into a flat together. I liked this little element because it sets them off from the outset as equals, something that remains more or less true throughout, but gets lots in the various adaptations.
Watson is immediately amazed at Holmes’s ability to deduce details about him and sets to challenge him, loses, and they go on to find a nice murder to deal with. It’s important to remember that not all the stories deal in murder, so it’s nice a juicy to get one at the start. It goes from there. The novel itself is quite strange because 1/3 of it doesn’t even have Holmes or Watson in it at all, but instead tells the story of the murder and goes into America of all places.
Some stray observations:
*Both Holmes and Watson namedrop Poe and Poe’s detective from “Murders in the Rue Morgue.” Holmes hates him.
*Doyle seems to really really hate Mormons.
*Seriously Mormons plays a weird role in American Western history.
*The Princess Bride borrows from this novel.
*Watson says the word elementary, but Holmes doesn’t. Holmes does use a magnifying glass.
*Stephen Fry is amazing in this audiobook. I love when he does Americans; it sounds so goofy.