A Study in Scarlet in the graphic novel format has a several bonuses. Language of classical books can be difficult for the modern reader to enjoy. While the stories might be eternal (love, lust, murder, greed, revenge) presentation is not always. And I say that as an English major (or perhaps because I was one).
This adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle feels fresh but keeps with the classic tale. If a reader is struggling with the full-length edition, pairing it with this seems as it would be a helpful tool. The language is modern, yet not getting away from the time it is set. The feelings of the characters are in character for their personality and the era. Ian Edginton knows the story and captures it for the contemporary reader.
While the illustrations and I are not “friends” they do work with the story. They show Sherlock Holmes in all his arrogance, his rage, his manic nature, his temper, even the distaste he has for others. Yet, there are a few times where they are exaggerated or just plain awkward (one page has Watson’s teeth look canine and like they are coming out of his mustache). Yet, while I admit I have never read the full-length (or any Doyle) novel, this feels as if it captures the nature of the original. The simplistic mystery, yet with its complicated twists, does make for an interesting read.
This illustrations that N. J. Culbard created has a lack of color that is interesting. The main breakup is “memories or telling of the story” which is in sepia tones and then the “now” where it has muted colors, even at times the red is not overwhelming. Yet, when the blood is there, it does stand out from the rest of the work.
My Holmes history is “flashy” Hollywood, therefore, seeing this basic, simplistic and yet complex work, is a good introduction to the original mystery story. This is the first murder Holmes and Watson solve and I would say was the road map for all mystery books that came afterwards.