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on 8 March 2004
It is 1878 and Doctor John Watson, his health damaged by his experiences with the British Army in Afghanistan during the Second Anglo-Afghan War, is looking for lodgings in the great city of London. It seems fortuitous, when a mutual friend introduces him to another who needs someone to share costs on a suite on Baker Street, but this other man is quite an eccentric. Sherlock Holmes has bent his life and education towards turning himself into the premier detective.
Watson can hardly credit Holmes's claims of what a first-class detective can do. But, when a note arrives from a Scotland Yard detective, inviting Holmes to consult on a particularly mysterious murder, Watson soon finds himself carried along by Holmes, watching his new friend's powers unravel a seemingly inscrutable knot. The game is afoot, and Holmes needs to solve a murder, and bring a murderer to justice.
This fascinating book was first published in 1887, and was the very first Sherlock Holmes story. In it we get to see the first meeting of Holmes and Watson, and hear Holmes explain his methods in detail. If you are a fan of murder mysteries, then this is definitely a book that you should not miss.
The center part of this story revolves around the actions of the Mormon Church in Salt Lake City, Utah. Author Arthur Conan Doyle had a tendency to "wing" the details of his story, and his treatment of the Mormons shows a certain carelessness in how he presented them. Therefore, if you are a Mormon, you will most likely find this book offensive.
But, that said, this is a wonderfully entertaining story that is sure to please most every mystery fan. And, if you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes, then you must read this book! It's great.
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on 15 July 2002
Although it's not the best written of the Holmes stories, "A Study in Scarlet" is most definitely my favorite. I love the description of Holmes' character in this book and the way Arthur Conan Doyle begins the relationship between Holmes and Watson is beyond brilliant. It's positively indescribable. The only thing I don't like about this book is the way in which it is written. The book is divided into two parts. In the first half, Holmes and Watson meet and then investigate a crime. The second half tells the history of the people involved in the crime. Part II is good although Holmes and Watson are not in it, but the format is somewhat confusing on the first read because it appears that Doyle is beginning an entirely new story without finishing the first one. But overall this book is a fine addition to the Sherlock Holmes canon and I would highly recommend it.
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Here we have the first appearance of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson, in this the first of only four novels as the rest of the tales were short stories. Nowadays everyone has heard of Holmes, but this was published with very little interest from the public. One reason for this may be that apart from ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ the other novels have never proved as popular as the short tales. Another reason also is rather ironic as mention is made in this book of Lecoq a fictional French detective who was arguably the most famous detective in the world until Holmes eventually usurped him from his place, and the creator and author of him and other crime tales, Emile Gaboriau, in which the structure of this novel does bear some resemblance to its format.

Watson returns from Afghanistan suffering injuries after the Second Afghanistan War. Looking for somewhere to rent in London a former friend and colleague of his points him in the direction of a certain Sherlock Holmes who is looking for someone to share rooms with, thus creating that famous partnership that we are all aware of. It does take some time for Watson to realise what his flatmate does for a living, but he does soon pick up on his rather vain conceit.

With a mysterious murder committed Watson finds himself with Holmes investigating, whilst both Gregson and Lestrade from the Yard of course mess things up with false conclusions. Not as well written as stories that were to come later this still does make for an enjoyable read as we see Holmes in his element, solving crimes that seem to others to be impossible of solution. Also, for those who are coming to the Sherlock stories for the very first time this does show you how they came to be living and working together. In all then this is still very much an enjoyable read that should give you much pleasure.
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on 20 November 2012
This is the first in the Sherlock Holmes series and you can understand, after reading this, why Conan Doyle's character became such a archetype for future detectives and why he has become such a well known figure in crime fiction.

He is a mysterious, quirky and very eccentric individual who has very human flaws that make him an engaging protagonist. The workings of his mind are so lateral and even now his deductions are astoundingly clever. It is easy to see why he has spanned the centuries and is still so popular today - I can imagine that he was as refreshingly different then as he is now.

Discovering how Watson and Holmes come to know each other is an interesting element to "A Study in Scarlet" as most people know of the duo but few are aware of how they come together. And Watson plays his role perfectly alongside the reader who marvels at Holmes' detective prowess.

The plot itself is split into two sections, the first dealing with the murders and the second concentrates on the motive beyond the gruesome killings. Both parts are equally engaging but completely different, in tone and focus. It shows the power and eloquence of Conan Doyle's writing that he manages to switch effortlessly between the different settings of both sections along with the type of prose required for each.

"A Study in Scarlet" still stands out as an excellent piece of crime fiction and I am sure it will continue to do so for many years to come. Along with other writers such as Agatha Christie, perhaps the Conan Doyle of her generation in her creation of an enduring detective in Poirot and Marple, it is so interesting to read the popular fiction of that era and it's links to similar literature today.

Additionally, I can add that "A Study in Scarlet" is actually available from a popular online archive (Project Gutenberg) for free as it is out of copyright.

I would recommend as a must read for all. Not only it is a quick, easy read but also provides a great insight into the beginnings of crime fiction today.
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VINE VOICEon 10 November 2012
This, the very first Sherlock Holmes story, is a re-read, I have read the whole canon several times before. It is particularly striking as being a story of two halves. After the initial meeting between Holmes and Watson - surely one of the most significant and memorable literary acquaintanceships - the story of murder unfolds against the London backdrop that is considered so typically Sherlockian. The mystery is solved half way through. The second half is then a sympathetic backstory of why the murderer committed his crimes, which takes us to Utah and the Mormons (whose cultish nature depicted here is the source of the evil). This is very atypical Conan Doyle material, but brilliantly and dramatically described, his evocation of the bleak and barren landscape every bit as convincing as that of the more familiar foggy London streets. No doubt this contrastingly wide spaced environment is part of the reason why this story has been much less adapted for the screen than Hound of the Baskervilles (Dartmoor is more accessible and realisable than the Utah desert!) or The Sign of Four (set in London). But this is a real classic that deserves to be better known as the beginning of a literary legend. 5/5
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on 15 January 2012
This book is brilliant! It has a great introduction from Steven Moffat (one of the great writers of BBCs Sherlock)and the book itself is great- but be clear when you buy it: this book is not the BBCs version of Sherlock; it is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's original.
Though the cover is misleading,this book really is worth buying because it's a really good edition of the book, but like I said, don't be fooled by the cover because it is not the adapted BBC version.
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on 20 December 2015
This is the first of the Sherlock Holmes series and well worth reading. The first part gives Dr. Watson's account of being introduced to Sherlock Holmes and then the discovery of two murders. The second part is set twenty years earlier and provides the motive for the murders.
The second part of the book is based around the Mormons who are shown in very bad light. (Something Arthur Conan Doyle was criticised for at the time of publication.)
I have recently read the very interesting autobiography of Ann Eliza Young, called 'Wife no. 19' which was published 10 years earlier than Conan Doyle's book. There is a lot of similarity in the two stories, one factual, this one fictitious, and I feel it is highly probable than Conan Doyle was inspired by Ann Young's harrowing life story. This hasn't spoilt my reading of this Sherlock Holmes book; in fact it has made it more believable. So I would highly recommend reading both books.
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I am a huge fan of the Derek Jacobi Sherlock Holmes audiobooks. Having received four of the nine audiobook sets for free as review copies, I spent my own money on buying the rest. Sir Derek Jacobi is perfect as Holmes, Watson and any other character required of his extremely versatile voice. He doesn't just read the stories, he acts them. I would find it impossible to make a better choice of narrator. And, as Sir Derek has recorded every single one of the Holmes stories, I don't have to.

This is the very first Sherlock Holmes story, in which Doctor John Watson returns to London following an injury sustained in Afghanistan and finds himself fast running out of money. He decides he needs to find someone to share an apartment with, and is soon told about a strange fellow at the local medical university who doesn't seem to actually be studying for any qualification but rather pursuing some very odd studies for some purpose he won't divulge. He also wants to share apartments with someone, but as of yet no-one has taken him up on the offer. Watson ignores the warnings and the two of them take up residence at 221B Baker Street.

At first Watson is intrigued and then frustrated by not knowing what his new flatmate actually does for a living, and why people keep coming to the apartments and asking him questions. Then, after ridiculing out loud an article on the science of detection that he finds lying about, he discovers that Holmes was actually the author of the paper and the reason he keeps meeting people in the apartments and asking Doctor Watson to keep to his room whilst he does so is that he is actually a consulting detective - one of a kind, he explains - who can solve most problems without ever having to leave the building.

But leave the building Holmes must do, when two of Scotland Yard's finest - Inspectors Gregson and Lestrade - come calling, asking for assistance on a case of murder. Holmes invites Watson to see first hand why the article on detection was not the rubbish he thought it was, and soon starts putting his techniques into practice.

This is a very good introductory story, but those not already familiar with it may well be puzzled as to why it comes to a conclusion at the end of the second disc and then goes into another story set in Utah and involving a less than savoury depiction of Mormons, and no Holmes or Watson. One and a half discs later the story comes to an end and, if the listener had not already realised, it becomes evident that the story we have been listening to is the story of the murderer and the reasons for his acts. It's something that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle does again, though in a shorter form and more integrated into the main story, in Sherlock Holmes: The Sign of the Four (BBC Audio). Thankfully, we do get a half-disc more of Holmes and Watson filling in the blanks as a denouement to both stories.
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on 29 December 2000
"A Study in Scarlet" is the first of the Sherlock Holmes series and therefore gives the reader the perfect opportunity to progressively befriend the famous detective at the same time as the good Dr Watson does. Throughout the course of the book you will marvel at the numerous skills that Holmes has so painfully striven to attain through arduous hard work during his life, and watch as he uses them in practice. As the mystery of the case develops, so does Dr Watson's friendship with Holmes, and the reader finds himself in the same position as Watson; baffled and confused as to how all the pieces of the puzzle which Holmes has so cleverly found, will ever fit together. After reading this book I found myself envious of all the remarkable talents that Holmes possesses, and every time he proposed a new theory, I could not rest until he explained the seemingly simple pathways he used to arrive at his conclusion. This book provides an excellent introduction to the world of Sherlock Holmes, it was the first of this series of books that I bought, and will certainly not be the last. Experience the astonishing mind of perhaps the greatest detective created by reading "A Study In Scarlet".
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Here we have the first appearance of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson, in this the first of only four novels as the rest of the tales were short stories. Nowadays everyone has heard of Holmes, but this was published with very little interest from the public. One reason for this may be that apart from ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ the other novels have never proved as popular as the short tales. Another reason also is rather ironic as mention is made in this book of Lecoq a fictional French detective who was arguably the most famous detective in the world until Holmes eventually usurped him from his place, and the creator and author of him and other crime tales, Emile Gaboriau, in which the structure of this novel does bear some resemblance to its format.

Watson returns from Afghanistan suffering injuries after the Second Afghanistan War. Looking for somewhere to rent in London a former friend and colleague of his points him in the direction of a certain Sherlock Holmes who is looking for someone to share rooms with, thus creating that famous partnership that we are all aware of. It does take some time for Watson to realise what his flatmate does for a living, but he does soon pick up on his rather vain conceit.

With a mysterious murder committed Watson finds himself with Holmes investigating, whilst both Gregson and Lestrade from the Yard of course mess things up with false conclusions. Not as well written as stories that were to come later this still does make for an enjoyable read as we see Holmes in his element, solving crimes that seem to others to be impossible of solution. Also, for those who are coming to the Sherlock stories for the very first time this does show you how they came to be living and working together. In all then this is still very much an enjoyable read that should give you much pleasure.
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