Item description for A Study in Scarlet (Naxos Audio) by Sir Doyle Arthur Conan...
Join Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson on their very first case together! A Study in Scarlet recounts their first meeting, as well as Watson's initial impressions of the Great Detective's unusual traits and habits.
The Sherlock Holmes stories have inspired a vast body of literature dedicated to the proposition that the Great Detective was not a mere work of fiction, but an actual historical person. Since the 1920s these "writings about The Writings" have contributed fascinating new insights into the stories, enhancing the pleasure of reading them. The Sherlock Holmes Reference Library, which will eventually number nine volumes, puts the entire history of this "Higher Criticism" at your fingertips! Each illustrated volume is bursting with scholarly annotations and features a sturdy, smythe-sewn soft cover binding.
Outline Arthur Conan Doyle's Study in Scarlet is the first published story involving the legendary Sherlock Holmes, arguably the world's best-known detective, and the first narrative by Holmes's Boswell, the unassuming Dr. Watson, a military surgeon lately returned from the Afghan War. Watson needs a flat-mate and a diversion. Holmes needs a foil. And thus a great literary collaboration begins.
Watson and Holmes move to a now-famous address, 221B Baker Street, where Watson is introduced to Holmes's eccentricities as well as his uncanny ability to deduce information about his fellow beings. Somewhat shaken by Holmes's egotism, Watson is nonetheless dazzled by his seemingly magical ability to provide detailed information about a man glimpsed once under the streetlamp across the road.
Then murder. Facing a deserted house, a twisted corpse with no wounds, a mysterious phrase drawn in blood on the wall, and the buffoons of Scotland Yard--Lestrade and Gregson--Holmes measures, observes, picks up a pinch of this and a pinch of that, and generally baffles his faithful Watson. Later, Holmes explains: "In solving a problem of this sort, the grand thing is to be able to reason backward.... There are few people who, if you told them a result, would be able to evolve from their own inner consciousness what the steps were which led up to that result." Holmes is in that elite group.
Conan Doyle quickly learned that it was Holmes's deductions that were of most interest to his readers. The lengthy flashback, while a convention of popular fiction, simply distracted from readers' real focus. It is when Holmes and Watson gather before the coal fire and Holmes sums up the deductions that led him to the successful apprehension of the criminal that we are most captivated. Subsequent Holmes stories--The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Return of Sherlock Holmes, and The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes--rightly plunge the twosome directly into the middle of a baffling crime, piling mystery upon mystery until Holmes's denouement once more leaves the dazzled Watson murmuring, "You are wonderful, Holmes!" Generations of readers agree. --Barbara Schlieper
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Reviews - What do customers think about A Study in Scarlet (Naxos Audio)?
A study in scarlet Sep 30, 2007
A study in scarlet is the first Sherlock Holmes adventure with Dr. Watson, the classic crime-solving partnership. I read it in Spanish (my first language) when I was around 9 years old and I love it at that time. I just finish reading it, 21 years later and in english, and I still think is a great book.....short enough to read it in a week, probably less, nevertheless, complex enough to catch your attention. I haven't finish The Sign of 4 yet, but so far it seems to be as good as a Study in Scarlet!
Super Reader Aug 2, 2007
A lovely origin story. Dr. Watson, returned from a war and in need of lodgings is led to Baker Street. In this fine location resides one Sherlock Holmes.
They are soon on the trail of a mystery that involves a corpse, and a word scrawled in blood on a wool. Then there are dodgy mormons and a bit of wild west action.
Dr Watson, I'd like you to meet Mr Sherlock Holmes! Jun 18, 2007
As Agatha Christie's "The Mysterious Affair at Styles" introduced a grateful reading public to Hercule Poirot, perhaps the second best known fictional detective of all time, Conan Doyle's "A Study in Scarlet" marked the debut appearance of the acknowledged master of detection, the one and only Sherlock Holmes!
John Watson, a medical doctor recently retired from the British military to recover his health and recuperate from wounds received in Afghanistan, is looking to stretch his limited budget by finding another gentleman with whom he can share accommodation. When a mutual friend introduced him to Sherlock Holmes, one might slyly suggest that the game was afoot and the rest, as they also say, became history. Already characteristically melancholy and moody, a jaded Holmes, who labeled himself the world's only consulting detective, is invited by Scotland Yard's Lestrade and Gregson to assist in the investigation of a baffling pair of murders.
With "A Study in Scarlet", Doyle is clearly new to the craft of writing mysteries and the great detective's debut outing suffers from characteristic first novel and new character jitters. The style itself is markedly different from everything that follows in the Holmes canon with the story being told from a third-party perspective. The background to the mystery is revealed through the mechanism of a flashback to the western USA at the time of the Mormon migration to Utah. Feedback from the reading public must have been immediate and - we'll have to hand it to Doyle - he must have been a quick learner. Watson was thereafter appointed official narrator and diarist to the master and Doyle never looked back.
I leave it to others smarter than I to judge whether or not Doyle's historical characterization of the Mormons is justified or accurate! Suffice it to say, that the mystery is entertaining but the details are, quite frankly, entirely unimportant beside the overwhelming fact that this was the first time the world heard the name "Sherlock Holmes". It took Doyle only a few pages for example to treat us to an aphorism that we would come to hear over and over again, "It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence."
This novel is a cornerstone in the annals of crime fiction, an extremely important piece of the history of English literature and a darned good read! Enjoy it!
Another Mormon reader chimes in . . . May 31, 2007
I recently picked up THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES, which has been sitting on my shelf for over a year and I'm glad I did. The first book in the compendium of his early works is A STUDY IN SCARLET, to which I restrict my comments.
The story is broken into two parts. The first chronicles the murder and pursuit by Holmes, the second provides the background and motive for the murder and ultimately the resolution of the case.
A STUDY IN SCARLET is the first of many Sherlock Holmes novels and is a good place to start if you, like me, are aware of Holmes' preeminent status as the literary world's best detective, but have not yet taken the opportunity to read his adventures.
The first book introduces Holmes and Watson and chronicles how they came to be companions. It also gives an insight into the pains Holmes has taken to develop his sleuthing skills. This introduction is intriguing and will pull you along until the crime is discovered, at which point you'll be hooked.
The development of the rest of the first part is equally intriguing as the mystery becomes clearer and clearer to Holmes, though no more clear to the reader. One is truly impressed by all that is "elementary"* to Mr. Holmes, but imperceptible to we mere mortals.
The second part of the book takes place primarily in Utah at the time the valley was settled by the Mormons. Brigham Young and the burgeoning Mormon society are menacing and effectively occupy the role of the antagonist for the second part.
For those unfamiliar with the Latter-Day Saints, please note that this account is purely a work a historical fiction and is wholly inaccurate in its depiction of Brigham Young, Salt Lake City, and Mormons at large. For that, I deduct a star for the hazard it may present to those unaware of the true character of the Mormon faith. Personally, I found the second part more distasteful than will the average reader because I am a proud Latter-day Saint.
Still, with these flaws, the book is a wonderful introduction to a literary character with whom all should be familiar. I recommend the book.
* I must say that I was disappointed to find Holmes' catch-phrase "it's elementary my dear Watson" missing from this volume (though I don't deduct any stars for its absence). Surely, it appears in later works. I was waiting for it, but, alas, it didn't appear.
An Intriguing Mystery Feb 17, 2006
A body is found in an empty house, but there are no wounds, or signs of struggle. With Scotland Yard officials baffled, Sherlock Holmes is called on the case. Watson and Holmes meet through a friend of Watson, because that Holmes is interested in sharing a suite on Baker Street with someone. Soon after moving in together, Holmes is asked by two top - ranking Scotland Yard officials for help with a case. A man was found dead in a house, with no wounds or signs of a struggle. Holmes finds the killer, a man from the United States name Jefferson Hope, and arrests him. But, before being put on trial, Hope dies from a heart failure. I would recommend this intriguing mystery novel to anyone.
One reason for my recommendation is because of the complexity of the mystery. To the normal person, the mystery may have seemed unsolvable, but Holmes somehow, even from the very beginning, seems to know the answer. Even with most of the facts at your hands that the average investigator would have seen, there seems to be no way to know what happened, and who the murderer was. But, Holmes figured it out, and it is even explained how that he figured it out.
Another reason for my recommendation is the way that Holmes solved the mystery, and the way that his thoughts were presented. Despite the complexity of the mystery, Holmes figures it out in a matter of days. He took notice of such things as the height of words written on the wall, and from that came to a brilliant conclusion on the height of the killer. He even noticed the size of the shoes that the victim and the murderer were wearing. The way that Holmes solved and explained the mystery was very interesting.
The last reason is the story behind the crime. Jefferson Hope, the murderer, explains everything about the crime before he dies, from motives to the difficulties in killing his victims. It turns out that many years before the crime, Jefferson Hope had been in love with a fine young lady, and was planning to marry her. But, a Mormon, who believed the girl should marry him, so killed her father, and took her away. The girl later died (from "unhappiness"), and Jefferson swore revenge on the one who took her away. He ended up following the two who killed her love, Strangerson and Drebber, all across the United States and Europe. After many years, he finally put them to rest in London, but was caught.
I would recommend this book to anyone, particularly fans of mystery novels such as this one. Doyle's descriptive writing and vivid use of vocabulary made this book a pleasure to read. If you're looking for a wonderful mystery, then you should read this book.