Monday, 10 September 2012

A Study in Scarlet - Arthur Conan Doyle

Recently I was given the lovely present of a Kindle, which I needed an excuse to try out.  So I started to think of the older books that I keep meaning to read, and Sherlock Holmes sprung to mind.  With the wonders of modern technology, I downloaded the entire Sherlock Holmes collection in under a minute, and started to read A Study in Scarlet.

The first novel to feature the famous detective and his medical sidekick focuses on the death of an American - a mystery which the police detectives find to be beyond their reach.  Holmes finds the whole thing very simple and spends much of the time parading in front of the others just how simple he finds it.

Ok, so that doesn't sound a ringing endorsement for the story.  And in some ways, it sums up how I felt.  Halfway through the crime is solved and the plot switches to back-story.  This confused me at first, but at times I felt like I enjoyed the back-story more than the main detective plot itself.  That may not be any bad sign on the story, more a sign of my habits.

As is quite clear from this blog, I really like Agatha Christie's Poirot series.  These focus a great deal on the idea that a good detective looks at things from a different angle to see things that others miss.  I've also watched a fair bit of CSI, so the concept of analysing evidence is somewhat second nature.  But what needs to be remembered is that Sherlock Holmes was before all that and living in a different age.

Overall I'm a bit undecided.  The actual mystery itself felt a bit weak, and as a reader basically no details are provided til the final reveal, giving no chance of even making a guess at the murderer.  However, I know that one of the later novels is the more acclaimed and so I'm going to give them a chance and carry on.  Besides, I've got the whole lot sat on my Kindle already.