Saturday, 17 June 2017

A Study in Scarlet - Arthur Conan Doyle

'"It's quite exciting," said Sherlock Holmes, with a yawn.'


So, I started this while making Daniel that birthday cake, and I finished this while driving back and forth making deliveries for mum. Don't you just love the convenience of audiobooks? I certainly do. It makes me feel so happy that I can put some otherwise 'useless' time into something good by listening to a book while I'm at it.

Anyway, A Study in Scarlet (after finishing it I searched for A Study in Pink and was wondering why only the BBC episode came up...) is the first Sherlock Holmes story, and a very exciting one based on just that fact. The first meeting of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson is very important, and it was really cool to see it happen for myself. I've never read these books before, but I have watched the BBC show and some of the older series, as well as one of the movies. I even watched an episode of Elementary a couple of days ago. So I had preassumptions, I suppose.

The two main characters are great and very well fleshed out, and I found myself immediately liking both of them. There's a lot of information about Sherlock especially, but it never feels like too much or like it's just being told me so that I would know.

This book is very clearly divided into two parts: the first one has Watson and Sherlock meeting and them starting to investigate Watson's first case with the consulting detective. It's very fun and exciting and all-around a really good introduction for these characters. It had me smiling pretty much all the way through.

The other half is the background of the killer, and it's... incredibly odd? It has Mormons in the Utah and all sorts of other stuff that felt very odd, and I would have never guessed I was reading a Sherlock Holmes book if I jumped in there, because for a couple of listening hours, it felt nothing like it. It also puts Mormons in a very bad light, and apparently Doyle apologised for this later. But in short, it was weird. I enjoyed it though, because despite the oddness, it was interesting to read, and I had no idea whatsoever what was coming up next or why I was even reading it. However, I can see how this part could divide options, since it's not necessarily what I signed up for when reading a Sherlock Holmes book. I also was not smiling all the way through.

A Study in Scarlet actually didn't feel as dated as I thought it would. And before you tell me how bad that sounds, well. This story came out in 1887, and it's been rehashed incredibly often ever since. So I thought this would feel old, but it definitely didn't. It was actually the cutest thing how they had a taxi driver... who drove a horse-drawn carriage! Gosh, that made me pretty happy.

There's also a clever thing with someone writing 'rache' on a wall, which means [something] in the book, but in the new BBC adaptation Sherlock refers to this by saying: "Don't be stupid, it doesn't mean [something]!" - and it's actually the opposite thing. Hope that explanation made sense, but my point is that it was very cute.

I kind of feel like I should be talking more about this - it's the first Sherlock Holmes book! - but I don't really know what else to say. I gave this a 4/5 since it feels like a great start more than a masterpiece by its own right. Maybe by the time I reach the last book, I'll have more to say?

For the Helmet 2017 reading challenge I put this in category 34. A book about the times when you were not born yet!

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