A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
I was surprised that this is actually an “origin” story–to use a 21st century phrase–of the Holmes & Watson partnership that a “A Study in Pink” episode in the Sherlock BBC series shows. However, having never read a Sherlock Holmes story before everything is new and surprising to me. As to the novella itself…
Dr. John Watson introduces himself and how he met Sherlock Holmes, as well as his new friend/fellow boarder’s interests. Then one day Watson makes a comment about an article that Holmes writes and then we learn of Holmes true interest and vocation. And then an unusual murder is committed. Watson goes with Holmes to the scene of the crime, watching what Holmes does there and afterwards. Detectives Gregson and Lestrade each have their own theories, but both are suddenly disappointed when Holmes apprehends the culprit right under their noses.
Then the novella suddenly switches settings halfway across the world following three individuals, two of which die, and the third is the apprehended murderer. This is the backstory of why the murder killed his victims and after returning to the “present” explains how he committed the crimes. Afterwards, Holmes lets Watson know how he came to the correct conclusion and got the culprit to show up to their boarding house.
Overall it was a good first story, though the sudden backstory taking up a quarter of the story at the beginning of Part 2 was a bit off putting.