Discussion in 'General Books' started by LyannaWolfBlood, Apr 2, 2012.
How did you find "A Study in Scarlet"?
I went for four stars. Yes; it's implausible, of dubious political correctness, and has some major issues with pacing. But I enjoyed reading it all the same .
I'll add more comments tomorrow.
4 stars as well.
I really enjoyed it. I do find that some things are rather fast, but then this is Victorian England, so there were fewer people around. I found that the interlude with the story of the killer was nice, however I would have preferred more time spent on the investigations than the character's story (which was rather long).
Some things I find were simply taken for granted. Holmes says and does stuff that would normally have taken longer to verify. Of course this does crop up as a problem to some of the characters though.
I really like the way the story works. I had seen the BBC Sherlock, where the first episode was A Study in Pink and was very similar (pills, RACHE and a cabby). Reading the story now made it that much better.
Yeah, I've seen BBC's Sherlock as well, and I loved picking out the parallels between the two. I also agree with your comments on the killer's story; that's what I meant with the allusion to "pacing issues" in my post above. It was practically half of the entire book, which definitely felt like too much. That being said, I think my reaction to that was at least partly because it completely doesn't follow certain conventions of modern detective stories, such as increasing the tension to climax at the end and dropping clues throughout the book as to the killer, and instead explains things with what is basically a completely different story in the second half of the book. I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing - one of my issues with modern-day thrillers is that they feel very samey - but the difference in feel between it and a modern story was noticeable.
It's a minor point, but I'm a bit confused what you meant by this remark - I don't get the connection between things moving quickly and there being fewer people around. (There were a good 3-4 million people in London at this point BTW, so still plenty of people.)
I find that we have no clues as to who the killer is; we'd never heard of the man before. We have a few clues about what he is though (the cab tracks). With this, we can narrow it down to the cabbies, who were fewer then than now, so therefore Holmes could get Wiggins and the irregulars to find a certain cabby.
This is something very different from [more] modern crime books: we're usually given a group of people that appear as suspects and the likes and must decide who we think is the killer. In Sherlock Holmes, however, we have to find out (not always though) how the killer did it, why maybe and what their job is.
Yes, that's it exactly (and better explained than I did). It surprises you by not following the formula you expect.
Which is very interesting, as it was written a long time before the model which we expect and should therefore be a base to it, but it isn't...
Actually, the model/formula for mystery of the time was written by Wilkie Collins, his novel The Moonstone is sort of 'ground zero' for the Victorian Mystery genre. I think it was published in the 1860s or 1870s... Agatha Christie owes her career to the likes of Wilkie Collins.
As for A Study in Scarlet, I give it a solid three stars.
I love the Mormon bashing; it's wonderfully polemic and very English (though Doyle was a Scotsman), but somehow doesn't fit very well with the rest of the Sherlock Holmes stories. The lengthy interlude of past events on the plains of Utah just doesn't work very well. If there's any place further away from Victorian England than the American West, well, I don't know where it is... which is the problem I have with the book. When you imagine a Sherlock Holmes mystery you immediately conjure up foggy gaslit alleyways, that's the magic of it. What does work beautifully is the relationship between Holmes and Watson. One of the very few books of that era that I was as curious about the two main characters as I was the mystery at hand.
Having just looked up "The Moonstone", it does sound very Agatha Christie-ish. I'd be quite tempted to read it now.
Even if "A Study in Scarlet" isn't the very first mystery novel, I do think Druid's overall point is valid. It's still one of the earliest ones and I think it's fair to suggest that it had an influence on later mysteries. The double act is the part that jumped out at me - very Poirot and Hastings!
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