A Study In Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión española desplazarse por la pantalla hacia abajo

In my contribution to the 2011 Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge I arrive today at A Study in Scarlet. The relevance of this book lies in the fact that the universal character of Sherlock Holmes, created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, was first introduced to the public in this detective novel published in 1887. The first of the four novels and fifty-six short stories that make up what it is known today as the canon of Sherlock Holmes. Despite its later success and its universal recognition, neither this first book nor its main character attracted much public interest at that time.

The book is split in two halves. The first one is told in first person by Dr. Watson. He describes his first encounter with Sherlock Holmes through a mutual friend in 1881. Both agree to share rooms at 221B Baker Street. At this point the reader gets familiar with Holmes’s eccentricities and with his uncanny ability to deduce information from his own observations. Watson is then given the opportunity to follow Holmes during the investigation of the Brixton mystery. The second part is narrated in third person and the story moves in a flashback to a Mormon community in the United States. In the last two chapters Watson takes back the accounts of the investigation to finish with Holmes’ own explanation.

The novel is relatively short, just 166 pages in my edition, and can easily be found on the Internet. An easy read as well and nicely told, except perhaps for the long flashback that can distract the reader’s attention. But keep in mind that Conan Doyle did not use it again as a narrative tool. Anyway, it provides a contemporary account of (one of the ways) how the West of the United States was won, which was probably as exciting at that time and it is today. A nice mix of detective fiction and adventures. A must read for any genre aficionado.

Estudio en escarlata de Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

En mi contribución al 2011 Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge llego hoy a Estudio en escarlata. La relevancia de este libro reside en el hecho de que el personaje universal de Sherlock Holmes, creado por Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, se da a conocer por primera vez al público en esta novela policíaca publicada en 1887. La primera de las cuatro novelas y cincuenta y seis cuentos que componen lo que hoy se conoce como el Canon holmesiano. A pesar de su éxito posterior y de su reconocimiento universal, ni este primer libro, ni su protagonista suscitaron mucho interés por parte del público en ese momento.

El libro se divide en dos partes. La primera está contada en primera persona por el Dr. Watson. Nos describe su primer encuentro con Sherlock Holmes a través de un amigo común en 1881. Ambos acuerdan compartir habitaciónes en el 221B de Baker Street. En este punto el lector empieza a conocer las excentricidades de Holmes y su asombrosa habilidad para sacar deducciones a partir de sus propias observaciones. Watson tiene entonces la oportunidad de seguir a Holmes durante la investigación del misterio de Brixton. La segunda parte está narrada en tercera persona. En un flashback la historia se traslada a una comunidad mormona en los Estados Unidos. En los dos últimos capítulos Watson retoma la narración de la investigación para terminar con la explicación de Holmes.

La novela es relativamente corta, apenas 166 páginas en mi edición, y se pueden encontrar fácilmente en Internet. De fácil lectura y muy bien contada, a excepción quizás del largo flashback que pueden distraer la atención del lector. Pero tengan en cuenta que Conan Doyle no lo volvió a utilizar como herramienta narrativa. De todos modos, nos proporciona un relato contemporáneo de (una de las formas) cómo se conquistó el Oeste de los Estados Unidos, que era probablemente tan interesante en ese momento como lo es hoy. Una buena mezcla entre la novela policíaca y la de aventuras. Una lectura obligada para cualquier aficionado al género.


10 thoughts on “A Study In Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

  1. >Got you updated at the Vintage Progress site!Was this your first time reading A Study in Scarlet or was it a reread? I first read the Holmes canon (all of it) back in junior high. My mom & dad got me a lovely leather-bound copy of most of the stories and then I went on a Holmes-binge and read everything else. I go back and reread ever so often. It's been a while though. Maybe I need to start another go-round.

  2. >Thanks Bev, I think it was a re-read because I knew the story pretty well but I can't remember exactly when. I must be aging. In any case it was a long time ago and you have give me a nice opportunity to read it again. Appreciate it.

  3. >José Ignacio – Thanks for this terrific review. I've always liked this novel, as it's not only a good story with several levels, but it's also the novel where we meet Sherlock Holmes. A "must" in my opinion for crime fiction addicts :-).

  4. >I know I have read this one, but I must admit I don´t really remember it. Not like "The Hound of the Baskervilles" which I remember very clearly.

  5. >This will never do for keeping my TBR down Jose Ignacio. I've just discovered I can get it on Amazon Kindle for 99 cents! Reading blog posts is like being in a never ending sweets shop. 😦

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