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A Study in Scarlet

A Study in ScarletA Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

About seven years ago, I started binge-reading every novel and short story in the Sherlock Holmes Canon. I did this because I was completely obsessed with BBC’s Sherlock, and was trapped in the horrendous waiting period between seasons 2 and 3. If you’ve watched Sherlock, and you experienced that 3 year hiatus, you know exactly what I’m talking about. It was brutal.

So I filled the void to the best of my ability with the original source material, which I had never read outside of bastardized illustrated classics for children. While they didn’t involve Benedict Cumberbatch, I came to love them nearly as much as the show they had inspired.

It’s been a while, so I decided it was time for a reread. I decided to start at the beginning with A Study in Scarlet. It was still a wonderfully enjoyable story, and I picked up on little details that I missed in my first reading. Those details make me desperately want to rewatch A Study in Pink, the first episode of BBC’s Sherlock, because I failed to notice upon my first reading how many tiny details and parallels were included in the show. However, I’ve seen every episode of Sherlock at least 3 times, and I’m closer to 6 with seasons 1 and 2, so I don’t know that I could in good conscience allow myself to watch it again…

Who am I kidding? I’m a grown woman and can make my own decisions. If those decisions include rewatching Sherlock for the seventh time, I have no regrets.

Now, about the story itself. This is our first introduction to Sherlock Holmes, the detective who has so radically impacted our view of the mystery genre and left indelible marks on our culture. He is arrogant and fierce and prone to wild outbursts, but he is also loyal and surprisingly sweet and softer than he would care to admit. He’s a complex character, and he’ll always be among my favorite fictional characters. We also meet Doctor Watson, who gives voice to our astonishment at the faculties of his companion. Watching their relationship develop, whether on screen or on the page, is always a pleasure; their friendship is one of my favorite parts of their stories.

As with any mystery novel, I can’t go into any details without spoiling the story for those who haven’t read it. So I’ll just say this: don’t be intimidated by the Sherlock canon. The stories are fun and accessible and have held up very well over time. If you’re a fan of the mystery genre and have yet to read any of it’s foundational classics, you owe it to yourself to dig into Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Dame Agatha Christie, as they are two of the most well known founders of the genre.

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