Sunday, February 20, 2011

GBC Book Review: A Study in Scarlet

I recently watched the BBC version of Sherlock and was inspired to go back and read the original works by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. A Study in Scarlet is the first book in the series so it seemed like a good place to start. After the small formality of learning how Dr. Watson and Holmes meet, the reader is taken along on the journey of Dr. Watson’s first foray into being Holmes’ sidekick when a man is found to have ingested poison in an abandoned house.
This novel serves as the basis for the first episode of the updated Sherlock, so I knew who the killer was before I had even started the novel. In that sense, it didn’t grip me trying to figure out who the culprit was (although it did in the TV episode so I’m sure if I had read the novel first, it would have as well). What I really enjoyed about the novel (and all the Sherlock mysteries) is that it’s told from the point of view of Dr. Watson and so Holmes is slowly unveiled to you as if you were also meeting him for the first time. It’s a great way to introduce a character as dynamic and yet socially inept as Sherlock Holmes.
I’m part way through the third book in the series (I don’t have the second book) and I can honestly say that I’m really enjoying them. Doyle has created some really memorable characters and some very interesting mysteries of which I’ve had varying degrees of success in solving. It has also given me a great appreciation for the amazing effort that went into updating the stories for their use in Sherlock. The series is incredibly true to the original stories in tone and pacing and suspense with lots of little running gags that pay homage to Doyle’s work (much more so than the recent movie version).

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