Mini Review: A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

Hi everyone! I just wanted to mention before the review that I read this book as part of Catch up on Classics! I have been meaning to read a Sherlock Holmes book for a while and I thought this was the perfect chance.

a study in scarlet

Title: A Study in Scarlet

Author: Arthur Conan Doyle

Publishing date:  1887

Genre: Adult, Mystery

Pages: 143

From the moment Dr John Watson takes lodgings in Baker Street with the consulting detective Sherlock Holmes, he becomes intimately acquainted with the bloody violence and frightening ingenuity of the criminal mind.

In A Study in Scarlet , Holmes and Watson’s first mystery, the pair are summoned to a south London house where they find a dead man whose contorted face is a twisted mask of horror. The body is unmarked by violence but on the wall a mysterious word has been written in blood. The police are baffled by the crime and its circumstances. But when Sherlock Holmes applies his brilliantly logical mind to the problem he uncovers a tragic tale of love and deadly revenge . . .

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This was my first time reading any of the Sherlock Holmes books and sadly I was disappointed. My main issue with this was that the writing style is so dry and boring, which made this book hard to enjoy.

The beginning of the book was interesting because Watson and Sherlock are introduced and it’s exciting to see the first glimpse of this iconic characters, but that excitement fades away quickly because everything feels slow and boring thanks to the writing style. I was hoping once the story got to the crime solving part things would get better, and while it was a bit more captivating, I felt like I couldn’t even try to solve the mystery behind the murder, because there’s almost no clues, there’s no interrogations, and honestly, there’s barely any information about the crime that was committed.

And then, when it seems like it’s finally time to see Sherlock in action, this book jumps 20 years to the past and starts to talk about Mormons, American pioneers and even the Gold Rush. I’ll admit that this was a bit interesting – even if the writing was still very dry- because I’m not American, so I don’t know a lot of the history that it’s glimpsed in this part of the book.

The ending was ok and things were explained, but what I found weird is that if you have 20 years to plan a crime, you wouldn’t leave so many thing to chance. That didn’t make sense to me and it made me wonder why Sherlock Holmes found the crime so interesting. Anyway, I will give another Sherlok Holmes book a chance, since I think maybe a book with a different case will be more enjoyable for me.

Rating: 3 stars

Have you read any of the Sherlock Holmes books? Which one do you think I should pick up next?

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13 thoughts on “Mini Review: A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

    1. Thank you, Mel! I couldn’t join you to watch the movie adaptation, but I did ended up reading A Study in Charlotte, it was my first 5 star book of the year and it’s a new favorite book for me! 💛 I’m so glad that I decided to join you! I’m planning to read Wuthering Heights in February and I’m really excited!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. It’s a weird coincidence because I just read this yesterday! And I agree it was really weird to suddenly jump 20 years back. Plus we barely saw HOW Sherlock does things so it was impossible to guess what would happen and that was ehh.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Honestly, I feel you. I feel like I was forced to give it a better star than I believed it deserves because of the fact that it’s a classic. I was just expecting so much more and it didn’t deliver. That time jumped annoyed me so much. I thought my copy had some kind of error and I couldn’t see what’s the point of it.

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  3. I used to be a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes stories and this one was probably the weakest of the bunch, I thought. If you’re still interested in Holmes stories – even with how dated they are, which is why I personally have stopped rereading them – I would tend to recommend some of the short stories. They are much more streamlined and don’t seem to have padding, which is what I thought the ’20 years in the past’ in this story was. (And don’t expect the writing to be anything other than dry. To me that’s typical of ‘classics’ and why I usually dislike them.)

    My personal favorite was The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual (found in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes). I also really liked The Adventure of the Norwood Builder (found in The Return of Sherlock Holmes) and for one of the most well known stories, I offer A Scandal in Bohemia (from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and the only story to feature Miss. Irene Adler). If you’re quite determined to read another novella instead of a short story, I would slightly recommend The Hound of the Baskervilles over either of the other two stories – though there is a lot of…bloat in this one, too.

    Honestly, if there’s any chance of you accepting a TV show recommendation instead of reading these stories… Watch Elementary. They updated the character of Sherlock Holmes, making him much more relatable, and modernized the stories so they no longer suffer from the bigotry of the times when the stories were written.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for all the amazing recs! I will definitely try some of the short stories next to see if I enjoy them more than I did this book.

      Also, I have watched every episode of Elementary and I love it! I love how they updated the characters and I can’t wait for next season even if I’m sad it’s gonna be the last one.

      Liked by 1 person

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