A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

By Arthur Conan Doyle

In 1887, a tender Arthur Conan Doyle released A examine in Scarlet, developing a world icon within the quick-witted sleuth Sherlock Holmes. during this first actual Holmes secret, the detective introduces himself to Dr. John H. Watson with the difficult line “You were in Afghanistan, I perceive,” and so starts off Watson’s, and the world’s, fascination with this enigmatic personality. In A examine in Scarlet, Doyle offers both confusing mysteries for Holmes to resolve: one a homicide that happens within the shadowy outskirts of London, in a locked room the place the haunting notice Rache is written upon the wall, the opposite a kidnapping set within the American West. settling on up the “scarlet thread of homicide operating during the colourless skein of life,” Holmes demonstrates his uncanny knack for locating the reality, tapping into powers of deduction that also captivate readers today.

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Extra resources for A Study in Scarlet

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5 Keenly aware of the charges levelled against their works, authors of fashionable novels defend them with spirit. ‘Novels,—especially such as affect to treat fashionable life,—are born to such an inheritance of shame’, writes Mrs Gore, who interrupts the plot of Pin Money to complain of the critics, ‘[I]t is so much the custom of dull or silly people of all ages and sexes to reprobate them with a sentence of contempt as the most frivolous, flighty, useless, and condemnable productions of the press … that it becomes necessary from time to time to throw a heavy lump of marl on the surface’, something dull and tedious, ‘in order to deceive the dunces into a belief that some mysterious process of improvement is carrying on for their advantage’ (ii, 53–4).

61 Moreover, Mr Lloyd himself is the author of that ‘book in his window’, A Treatise on Hats, with twenty-four engravings and ‘now in its fourth edition’, so we have two advertisements in one. Lloyd’s customers, explains Real Life in London, ‘have only to refer to the engravings in Mr. Lloyd’s work, where every possible variety [of hat] is clearly defined, and to order such as may suit the rank in life they either possess or wish to assume’ [emphasis added] (i, 18). In short, in the daily papers and in Mr Lloyd’s book ‘dedicated to the head’, ‘all the senses are tantalized with profusion, and the eye is dazzled with temptation, for no other reason’, says the author, ‘than because it is the constant business of a fashionable life—not to live in, but out of self’ (i, 104).

Similarly, the reader looks for clues in Lady Birmingham’s scene and finds them on the lady’s richly furnished desk. It is from this power base that the parvenue Lady Birmingham commands the reluctant, grumbling deference of London exclusives, bidding them to attend the grand opening of her richly furnished new Regent Street house – which they most certainly do. The reader’s subjectivity, captured by this carefully managed display, is not misled. Lady Birmingham’s self-confident social power comes exactly ‘as advertised’.

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