A Study in Scarlet

A study in scarletby Arthur Conan Doyle • Detective fiction

Dr Watson has returned from the Afghan war, wounded and homeless, when his friend introduces him to the eccentric Sherlock Holmes. Despite their obvious character differences they strike up a friendship and move into lodgings in Baker Street. Watson is fascinated with his fellow lodger who he eventually discovers is an amateur detective. When Holmes invites Watson to accompany him to a crime scene, Watson jumps at the chance. There they discover a woman’s gold wedding ring. This is a major clue to solving the crime.

Somewhat disconcertingly, the story splits into two and flashes back to Salt Lake Valley in 1847 where pioneer John Ferrier and a young girl called Lucy are on the brink of death. A large party of Mormons discover them and they are rescued on the condition that they too become Mormons. What then follows is a less-than flattering description of the history of Mormonism. At one point, I thought, “Am I still in the same book?” but assumed it would all come together neatly, as in fact it does in the end.

This is the first of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories and is quite a fun, quick read.

Publisher: Penguin • ISBN: 0141034335