A Study in Scarlett by Arthur Conan Doyle

One of my New Years reading resolutions was to read more ‘classics’ this year. My vague aim for this year is to review one a month, and I guess the first Monday of the month is as good a time as any!

Back when I was at university one of my major modules was Victorian Literature and it was one of the few that managed to get through the fog that was my mental health back then and encourage me to pick up the books I was supposed to be reading. I hadn’t picked one up since I graduated. 

So, I was excited to read this classic, especially after watching the most recent episode of BBC’s Sherlock. I downloaded the complete Sherlock Holmes Canon onto my new kindle but wanted to start with A Study in Scarlet as it introduced the major characters, before I move onto the mammoth task of reading all four novels and fifty six short stories.

The first thing that struck me was just how funny I found it. Perhaps because I’m so used to reading bleak Victorian novels like Wuthering Heights, the farcical nature of John Watson following Sherlock Holmes around in awe as he uses ridiculously slight clues to solve mysteries seems a lot more obvious. It reminded me more of a PG Wodehouse novel taking itself seriously more so than the Bronte Sisters or Dickens. 

That’s not to say that it was all a romp around London with two new friends and an inept police force. I also really enjoyed the interlude in America, after we find out whodunnit and need to know why they dunnit. Despite the unexpected murderous Mormons.

I’m looking forward to reading more. I think the short stories are next for me but A Study in Scarlet was a good introduction back into the world of classics for me.


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