‘A Study in Scarlet’ is the book where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle started writing about the most beloved detective of the English fiction world — Sherlock Holmes. Being one of Conan Doyle’s early work (published in 1887), the first novel wasn’t as good as the short stories I’ve read as a child (written later).
Dr. Watson has just returned to London from Afghanistan, after serving in war. He moves in with Sherlock Holmes to 221B, Baker Street. Their first murder case is about a male corpse found in a house with ‘RACHE‘ written on wall with blood.
The narrative was gripping but it wasn’t as great as the latter works. There was a lack of the fine tuning and the tight narrative one expects from a detective novel.
For example: Part II “The Country of Saints” which gives a flashback into lives of Salt Lake Valley and the history of Mormons, comes in without any context. Randomly. The main timeline and the flashback-cum-history-lesson come together to complete the plot — solving all the mysteries of the case.
It’s nice; but not as fun as peeking into Holme’s mind and trying to guess what’s up.
A Study in Scarlet is just another decently written detective novel. But with two unforgettable characters, it lays the foundation for much more.