Friday, May 11, 2012

A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

  Plot: Dr. Watson has returned to London from a brutal war in Afghanistan, broke and convalescing from his injuries, Watson needs a place to stay. Soon, Watson meets the eccentric and brilliant Sherlock Holmes with whom he will share his residence at Baker Street. Dr Watson finds out the Holmes is a consulting detective and is a polymath whose skills in deduction are unmatched.

Police Detectives are frequent visitors to the Baker Street resident, where they seek Holmes advise on unusual and tenebrous crimes. On one such faithful day, Holmes gets a letter from the Police about a most perplexing murder. A man was found dead in an abounded house without an injury on his body but there are marks of blood in the room and "RACH" is written in blood on the wall.

Lestrade and Gregson want Holmes to help them in the case where the next victim of the murderer is the Prime suspect.

Review: With "A Study in Scarlet" Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created perhaps the most famous and enduring character in Literary fiction. Holmes has become famous for his intellectual prowess, his skillful use of deductive and logical reasoning.

Sir Arthur gives the reader ample opportunities to see Holmes deductive skills at work. This is the best part of the book as the reader is enlightened  to observe the deductive genius at work. Many times in the book Holmes  makes fantastic claims and then is able to corroborate them with his lucid explanations. For e.g. Homes figures out the height of the murderer by deducing that when most men write on a wall or a board, they tend to write at the level of their own eyes. The book is filled with such interesting logical snippets.

Holmes and Watson are very like able characters and so much has been written about both of them as individuals and their own relationship that I think that I if I say anything I will just sound redundant. Though I would like to comment that Sherlock's no nonsense logical approach is an out and out winner for me and Dr Watson's submissiveness and inquisitiveness is the perfect foil for Holmes.

The 117 page book written in 1887 is divided in two parts. Part 1 deals with the crimes in London and the story of Watson and Holmes. Part 2 forms the background story of the crime which is set in the Salt Lake city in America.
It is about a man and his daughter who are first saved and later destroyed by Mormons, reading about the polygamous lifestyle of Mormons and how the great salt lake city came to be was quite interesting.

The only annoying part in the book was the absurd method of execution which the murderer took. so, the murderer is portrayed as a man who lives for revenge but when he extracts revenge, he leaves a lot to chance, also the idea of the avenging angel pursuing his antagonist for two decades is little absurd. Although this portrayal could well be a ploy to add extra sensationalism in the story.

This is not a Whodunit, there aren't many suspects, the real mystery in the book is why and how the murders were committed. This is nice, short read which is an important milestone in Detective Fiction.

Where you can find it? I got it from 50 bucks from a local bookstore, you can also get it for free from Amazon as an ebook

I'm submitting this review as part of the Color Coded Challenge and The BBC.


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