Book review: ‘A Study in Scarlet’ by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

This will be a rather short review, because not only did I read this almost  a year ago, but it’s also a relatively short story.

Being a big fan of older styled writing, i.e. Sherlock Holmes, The Chronicles of Narnia, and, of course, the Lord of the Rings, I knew I would enjoy this story from the moment I started reading.
However, to my dismaying surprise, I found the story to be split into two separate parts, one telling the story of Sherlock Holmes and his dear friend and companion Doctor Watson, and the other telling the antagonist’s past.

The first part I enjoyed very much, and I shall elaborate on why in a moment. The second part, however, I found rather boring and it seemed to drag on, but I found it more enjoyable as it neared its end.
It was interesting to read the original story, having seen the modern day, altered version in the program Sherlock.
A Study in Scarlet is the first and only book of its kind that I have read, meaning crime and such.

As I’ve said, I enjoyed the first part of the book quite a lot, so let’s talk about that.
The story (both parts) was very economical and direct, which meant for a quick and easy read. I myself am not very economical in my writing, and it’s something I need to work on, but I enjoy a bit of extra and a bit of mess, here and there, as long as it works well in the piece.
The story moved along at a brisk pace, and didn’t have any unnecessary tangents or side-stories. The characters – Sherlock in particular – were very original and interesting. Very three-dimensional.
Sir Arthur’s descriptions are very well detailed and constructed, and paint a vivid picture in the reader’s mind.
The story was ingenious and clearly well planned and put together, and I can’t recall any plot holes or stand-out mistakes.
I very much enjoyed the delivery, having the story told as a past adventure in Dr Watson’s journals, rather than a story being told as it’s happening.

The second part was where I found dislike for the story.
I think the main reason for me not enjoying most of the second part, was due to the fact that it seemed very random at first, until explained toward the end why it was put in. In the end, it brings a certain sense of closure to the story, however, I would have been quite satisfied with the story ending with the first part.
The jump in time and location is also, in my opinion, rather poorly executed. One chapter/part ends, and then suddenly the story has moved to what seems a completely random time and place.
Another reason I didn’t enjoy the second part was because, while its story was good and well written, it wasn’t interesting. At no point when you are reading it do you feel anything towards it. No excitement. No emotions. Nothing.

All in all, it was a well written, well constructed, well delivered, with intriguing characters and a complex plot. The second part let it down, a little, but not enough to ruin it.




One thought on “Book review: ‘A Study in Scarlet’ by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

  1. aubreyleaman

    Interesting review! It’s been awhile since I’ve read this one, too, but I also remember being a bit frustrated with the jump to the second half of the story. I got into it more as it went, though. I wonder if maybe we felt that way because we expected the mystery to come to a close then? If I’m remembering correctly the guy has already been caught right before the second part. Maybe Doyle was trying to teach us a lesson in delayed gratification haha.



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