I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle
Illustrator: Gris Grimly
Also by this author: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Series: Sherlock Holmes #1
Also in this series: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Published by Harper Collins on February 17th 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Classics, Mysteries & Detective Stories, Law & Crime
Format: ARC, eARC
Buy on Amazon
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's first novel—and the origin story of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson—is reimagined in the first unabridged, fully illustrated version since its debut, by acclaimed and bestselling illustrator Gris Grimly.
The year is 1881. The city, London. A man lies dead in an empty house, not a mark upon him, and no clues—save for the word "RACHE" scrawled in blood on the wall above. Elsewhere, two men—a former army doctor called John Watson and a brilliant eccentric called Sherlock Holmes—meet for the first time. These two events set in motion an adventure into the darkest corners of men's hearts as the cold, calculating investigative methods of Mr. Holmes are put to the test in a case that spans decades and continents, rife with danger and intrigue.
Originally published in 1887, A Study in Scarlet was the first novel to feature a character whose name would become synonymous with the art of deduction. Today it is completely reimagined with artwork by the modern master of gothic romanticism, Gris Grimly, bringing this thrilling tale of love and revenge to a new generation of readers.
Why Did I Read This Book?
You know how you kind of open a book and glance at it for a cursory second and then make assumptions about it based on one second? I did that with Sherlock Holmes in A Study In Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle illustrated by Gris Grimly. I took a literal one second glance and assumed this would be a graphic novel adaptation of the book. So, I picked it up and thought it would be a super fast read and one I could easily knock off my list and into my donate bag (I donate all my ARCs). So, I did read Sherlock Holmes in A Study In Scarlet under somewhat false pretenses but it turns out that reading it in this format which one thousand times more beneficial for me than reading the audiobook. I actually now get the whole Mormon part and see that oh, okay it did not go off the rails, I just stopped paying attention and got confused. THIS TIME THOUGH I DID NOT GET CONFUSED.
What’s The Story Here?
First of all, sorry not sorry if there are spoilers – this book has been in publication since 1887, so it’s not like it is some new release where what happens is kept under lock and key. Sherlock Holmes in A Study In Scarlet is the first of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes series. It is where we get our introduction to Holmes, obviously. The book opens up with Dr. Watson meeting an old friend in the street after coming back from service in Afghanistan. The friend tells him that he knows someone who is looking for a roommate, but who has some rather interesting habits. Dr. Watson is kind of becoming broke, so he seeks out the gentleman. It is Sherlock Holmes. He gets on rather famously with Holmes. However, he cannot for the life of him figure out Holmes’s profession or class, given that Holmes seems to have acquaintances in all of the classes and the things that he does go in so many different directions that he can’t quite nail Holmes down. Eventually it is revealed that Holmes is a ‘Detective Consultant’ and that the Scotland Yard is kind of dumb compared to him. Holmes laments how there is a lack of crime, and then a murder case falls into his lap and we truly see his deductive reasoning skills in action. It is a wonder to behold.
There’s a man dead in an empty house with no bullet or stab wounds. The man is from America and there are seemingly no indicators as to who his murderer is except for the word Rache painted on the walls in blood. Holmes, however, has this method wherein he figures out who the killer is and manages to catch the killer before the two detectives from Scotland Yard – Lestrade and Gregson – who are in rivalry against each other. I am glad that I read this version, because now I finally understand the Mormon connection. The murder dates back to a need for vengeance that arises out of a tragedy in Utah. You see, there is a second part where it opens up with a man named John Ferrier traveling through the desert with a little girl. The rest of the 21 pioneer party has died, leaving these two. They are out of food and water and about to meet their maker. While sleeping, a large group of people come upon the two and it turns out that the group is mormons following their prophet, Joseph Smith to Salt Lake City. They offer rescue to John Ferrier and the little girl, Lucy, with the caveat that they become Mormons. Given the choice between certain death and becoming Mormons, they choose to become Mormons. Ferrier ends up becoming wealthy and his adopted daughter Lucy is the rose of Utah. She catches the attention of a Gentile, Jefferson Hope and the two make plans to marry. ONLY! The Mormons take issue with this. What happens is tragedy and arising from this is the drive for revenge.
How Did I Like It This Time Around?
Okay, I am not going to lie, the portrayal of Mormons in Sherlock Holmes in A Study In Scarlet makes me uncomfortable. Obviously Mormons aren’t evil and murderous and hell bent on domination. I felt like it was a really unfair portrayal. I have blogger friends who are Mormon and so, it upset me a fair bit that their religion is painted with broad brush strokes. I mean, I understand that Arthur Conan Doyle is a product of his time and so, of course, things aren’t going to be as cordial and respectful and civil of different religions and ethnicities as we would come to hope for and expect today. Still, as a modern woman who cares about treating people with respect, this makes me uncomfortable.
This aside, I was surprised at how quickly I made my way through this classic. Typically I trick myself into thinking classics are hard and dense to get through, nevermind that I particularly read young adult and romance which to me are fast, engaging reads, different from classics. This book though is well paced and moves along rather quickly. I thought the characterization was very well done for the most part. I can see why this book holds up as a classic and why there are so many adaptations of Sherlock Holmes.
How Are The Illustrations?
As you all know, I pretty much read Sherlock Holmes in A Study In Scarlet for the illustrations by Gris Grimly. I won’t lie, I am a little disappointed that I did not have a finished copy to read because some of the illustrations are in full color and I think that is awesome. The illustrations that are in the book, however, are well done. Grimly has this unique and interesting style that I think will be recognizable in other books. He draws people not to be beautiful, but either thin and long or short and stout. There’s quite a bit of detail and texture in the art too. It absolutely recommends itself. I think if you are buying a copy of A Study In Scarlet for your collection, this should be the edition you pick, given how beautifully rendered it is.
Sum It Up With A GIF:
Essentially that is the very gist of this book.