Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Study in Scarlet - by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

A Study in Scarlet is the first book in the Canon.  Perhaps I should explain the Canon - it is the complete body of work by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle on the master detective, Sherlock Holmes.  The first publication was in 1887. ($0.99 US Edition)  (£0.77 UK Edition)  

Many people come to Sherlock Holmes through The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, but then search out this novel which is the first in the series.   You will meet Sherlock Holmes and watch him meet Dr. Watson.

Here is a familiar scene to all of us who have read and re-read these books.  Dr. Watson is having a drink . . .
I was standing at the Criterion Bar, when some one tapped me on the shoulder, and turning round I recognized young Stamford, who had been a dresser under me at Barts.
Stamford sets in motion one of the greatest friendships in literary history and then departs the novel:
“Holmes is a little too scientific for my tastes – it approaches to cold-bloodedness. I could imagine his giving a friend a little pinch of the latest vegetable alkaloid [poison!], not out of malevolence, you understand, but simply out of a spirit of inquiry in order to have an accurate idea of the effects. To do him justice, I think that he would take it himself with the same readiness. He appears to have a passion for definite and exact knowledge.”
This novella length work is somewhat controversial for its portrayal of Mormonism, which is an integral part of the plot.  As with many classic works, take this account of Mormonism as a reflection of attitudes of the times, rather than an accurate historical account of the religion. 

I envy those of you who are entering the Criterion bar for the first time!  And if you have been here before, order up a drink enjoy what comes next . . .
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