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"A Study in Scarlet"

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I guess if I had picked it up thinking it was a story about the old west, I would have liked it fine.  In fact, I probably would have wondered why it needed that prolog and epilog about some detective in London.

 

But I was thinking of it as a Sherlock Holmes story, so the abrupt jump to Utah took me completely by surprise, and I kept wondering when the story would get back to Holmes.  It took its sweet time, so I was getting pretty antsy!

 

I suspect that (for me at least) it's mostly a matter of expectations.  In Valley of Fear, I actually liked the backstory better than the Holmes part -- but I had already read Study in Scarlet and Sign of the Four, so I was expecting that sort of structure.

 

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I think the harshest critic of the Utah sections is Ian Sinclair in his introduction to the Penguin Classics edition. He more or less says Doyle (not Watson? tsk!) inserted it just to pad the story out...... lol

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Well that is one explanation, especially since many Sherlockians/Holmesians see Doyle not as the writer of the stories, but as Watson's editor.

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Yup, makes sense to me!

 

I believe some also see Doyle as Watson's agent.  So Watson presumably wrote it with just enough of the Utah backstory to make sense of the rest of it -- but then Doyle figured if the story were just a bit longer, he could call it a novel and get Watson a much better price for it, thus increasing his own cut as well.

 

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"A Study In Scarlet" - Wikipedia

 

 

 

 

                                                         Holmesx-inset-community.jpg

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Just FYI, you're not actually required to put links into spoiler boxes, Ruthy, unless the URL itself happens to contain a spoiler.  If the item that you're linking to contains possible spoilers, you can just say "May contain spoilers for people who haven't read the story" or whatever the case may be.

 

But of course you can put it in a box if you prefer.

 

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There's so much to find out on this forum :lol: thanks Carol.

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I have now finished reading this; the first Sherlock Holmes story I've read. Yay!

 

On one hand it's hard to compare it with the TV adaption, since the style and content is so, so different. On the other hand it's hard to avoid comparing them, since I'm so familiar with A Study in Pink.

 

I enjoyed the meeting between Watson and Holmes, as well as the initial remarks and notes we get from the good doctor about his new fellow-lodger. There's little interaction between them, though. Litltle characterisation and no character development. We get to know more about Jeff Hope than our main characters. I was captivated by Hope's story, but at this rate it will take a long time to get to know Holmes and Watson, so I feel it is an advantage rather than a disadvantage that I know them already from the TV show. Even if they're not exactly the same characters.

 

The deductions were many, but scattered, and did not add up to much until the final chapter. When Holmes first points out the murderer, it feels very sudden and quite anti-climactic. The ending was fine, but nothing spectacular.

 

Still, it was exciting to notice some similarities in content between the book and the TV adaption. The use of the word "RACHE" was interesting, and all of a sudden Anderson does not come off nearly as stupid :D

 

Humor was almost absent, which probably didn't surprise me all that much, but still felt a bit strange at first.

 

I am hugely impressed with what Moffat did with this, even though he didn't stay very close to the story. In fact, ASiP is all the better for it. It is much more character-driven, and is laced with humor and brilliant dialogue. The friendship is also much more apparent and in focus, no doubt because Moffat knew the books so well before making 'Sherlock'. He knew what the friendship would become, and so made it the focus right from the beginning. I'm still looking forward to reading the other stories, though.

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So I'm now 5 chapters into A Study in Scarlet (apparently NOT pink... lol).  I'm not taking any notes this go around.  I was concerned it would be too distracting from me just enjoying the stories and forming an overall impression.  Just a few thoughts so far:

 

I feel like overall ASIP (through Chapter 5) loosely follows A Study in Scarlet pretty well, with a few differences.  Obviously the restaurant scene, which is included in the pilot, is missing from ASIP.  Also, Watson in the book is more the instigator of them sharing a flat than Stamford, and Stamford seems to be younger in the books than he is portrayed in the series.

 

My brain REALLY wants to ignore the physical descriptions of characters in the book and our Sherlock and John (aka Cumberbatch and Freeman) are the voices and faces I see in my mind as I read.  It's more difficult with Lestrade b/c he's based off two characters from the book.  Mrs. Hudson is Una Stubbs in my head.  I miss Molly.   :(   

 

I think that so far Sherlock in the book reminds me of Sherlock in the series for the most part, with the exception that Watson notes that he goes to bed and rises early.  I mean I guess our Sherlock could do that when he's not on a case, since the book does mention Sherlock playing violin all night one night while working on this case, but that seems too normal for our Sherlock.  Also, Sherlock in the books sounds pretty neat compared to our Sherlock.

 

I found it interesting that in the book that Rache and Rachel are swapped as far as which is what was really meant.  So in the book Anderson would have been correct.   ;)  ...And I just noticed sherlockandjohn pretty much said the same thing so ditto her.  

 

ETA:  I loved the references to the little things that we see in ASIP... like the riding crop.

 

 

 

 

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So the whole arresting the cabbie thing was rather anticlimactic in the book.  

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So the whole arresting the cabbie thing was rather anticlimactic in the book.

Yep, basically. Moftiss made it a bit more fun only he doesn't get arrested in our beloved show.
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Now I'm reading about Mormons and am feeling a bit impatient... like back to Sherlock and John please!  I get it's the backstory of Jefferson Hope, Drebber, and Stangerson, but.... 

 

 

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Now I'm reading about Mormons and am feeling a bit impatient... like back to Sherlock and John please! I get it's the backstory of Jefferson Hope, Drebber, and Stangerson, but....

When I read it last fall I forgot it was the backstory and I thought I was reading a completely different story until got back to London.

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Now I'm reading about Mormons and am feeling a bit impatient... like back to Sherlock and John please! I get it's the backstory of Jefferson Hope, Drebber, and Stangerson, but....

When I read it last fall I forgot it was the backstory and I thought I was reading a completely different story until got back to London.

 

 

I didn't put it together until they mentioned the last names of Drebber and Stangerson.  I at first assumed it was a new case, and I thought it was a bit odd it was set in America.

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I finished it!  Jefferson Hope is so much more likable and sympathetic than Jeff Hope in Sherlock.  At first I was really unsure of the lengthy background it gives on Drebber, Stangerson, and Hope, but in the end it certainly impacted my view of Hope.  I had to google the Latin at the end of A Study in Scarlet; my Latin has gotten too rusty from lack of use.  :(

 

 

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I finally got my book club to read this, then I showed them ASiP afterwards. I think they genuinely liked both, they laughed in all the right places (at the show :smile: ), at any rate.  Their reaction to the sudden shift to America was pretty much the same as the rest of us, although a couple of us thought the Mormon bit was actually the more interesting story.
 
I love Moffat's remark (here) about Holmes being happy, because that's how I interpret him in the ACD stories I've read; he's positively friendly in Scarlet, bouncing around Stamford and Watson with his new discovery like a puppy. I still don't understand how we get from that to sociopath, though. :)

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It seems such a long time since 'A Study in Pink' was shown and how nearly everyone fell under the 'Sherlock' spell.

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Yes, even for me - and that's hardly 9 months.

 

I love Moffat's remark (here) about Holmes being happy, because that's how I interpret him in the ACD stories I've read; he's positively friendly in Scarlet, bouncing around Stamford and Watson with his new discovery like a puppy. I still don't understand how we get from that to sociopath, though. :)

Because he uses it only against people he sees as a possible adversaries. And John IMO kind of believes in it, because it gives him a reason to endure Sherlock's darker quirks.

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Sherlock is only happy when there's a case!

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My brain REALLY wants to ignore the physical descriptions of characters in the book and our Sherlock and John (aka Cumberbatch and Freeman) are the voices and faces I see in my mind as I read.  It's more difficult with Lestrade b/c he's based off two characters from the book.  Mrs. Hudson is Una Stubbs in my head.  I miss Molly.   :(   

 

I found it interesting that in the book that Rache and Rachel are swapped as far as which is what was really meant.  So in the book Anderson would have been correct.   ;)

 

ETA:  I loved the references to the little things that we see in ASIP... like the riding crop.

The description part is different for me. I don't try to apply the look of Sherlock and John from the series to their look in the books. They don't look like that in my mind. It might have to do with the fact that I had already read one canon story before I knew the series and so already have a picture of "my" canon Sherlock and John in my mind that doesn't change anymore. Furthermore my brain doesn't seem to make that connection automatically (regarding the appearance of the characters) and so I see the series and the books as two different things although there are of course many references in the series and it is still about Sherlock and John. I don't really know why it is like this, but I think I can live with two different Sherlocks and Johns in my mind.

 

I agree with you about the Rache/Rachel thing and the references.

 

 

Now I'm reading about Mormons and am feeling a bit impatient... like back to Sherlock and John please! I get it's the backstory of Jefferson Hope, Drebber, and Stangerson, but....

When I read it last fall I forgot it was the backstory and I thought I was reading a completely different story until got back to London.

 

I had that feeling of a different story, too. I wonder how someone who doesn't know the whole story would like or understand just that part on its own. I think most of it would work as a separate story as well, only that the end would be missing (how Hope finally got his revenge and then was arrested). But as a middle part it was a bit too long for me only to explain Hope's backstory. It could have been shorter.

 

 I had to google the Latin at the end of A Study in Scarlet; my Latin has gotten too rusty from lack of use.   :(

You are not the only one. I also had to look up the Latin although I learned it at school.

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My brain REALLY wants to ignore the physical descriptions of characters in the book and our Sherlock and John (aka Cumberbatch and Freeman) are the voices and faces I see in my mind as I read.  It's more difficult with Lestrade b/c he's based off two characters from the book.  Mrs. Hudson is Una Stubbs in my head.  I miss Molly.   :(   

 

I found it interesting that in the book that Rache and Rachel are swapped as far as which is what was really meant.  So in the book Anderson would have been correct.   ;)

 

ETA:  I loved the references to the little things that we see in ASIP... like the riding crop.

The description part is different for me. I don't try to apply the look of Sherlock and John from the series to their look in the books. They don't look like that in my mind. It might have to do with the fact that I had already read one canon story before I knew the series and so already have a picture of "my" canon Sherlock and John in my mind that doesn't change anymore. Furthermore my brain doesn't seem to make that connection automatically (regarding the appearance of the characters) and so I see the series and the books as two different things although there are of course many references in the series and it is still about Sherlock and John. I don't really know why it is like this, but I think I can live with two different Sherlocks and Johns in my mind.

 

I think I'm like that too; for me it's more like the characters in the books and the characters on the show are simply different characters, and I don't make any attempt to reconcile one with the other. Although I wonder if I would feel the same way if I had fallen in love with the books first, before seeing any other adaptation. As it is, I have years of Rathbone and Brett and several others I can't name as influences, and maybe that's one reason I can accept yet another interpretation without batting an eyelash?

 

 

I had to google the Latin at the end of A Study in Scarlet; my Latin has gotten too rusty from lack of use.   :(

You are not the only one. I also had to look up the Latin although I learned it at school.

 

Ha! I had an annotated copy! (I love my library.....) :D

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There's Latin?  Hang on -- yup, so there is.  I must have been reading my annotated edition as well, because that quote's a bit beyond my recollection too.
 

Populus me sibilat, at mihi plaudo
Ipse domi simul ac nummos contemplar in arca.

 
According to this site, this is what it means:
 

The quotation is from Horace, Book 1, Satire 1.
"The public hisses at me, but I applaude myself in my own house, and simultaneously contemplate the money in my chest."

 
And this site says:
 

Ah, it's a Horace quotation - attributed to a miser. The sentence is broken in the wrong place where you quoted it from. It should be "Populus me sibilat, at mihi plaudo ipse domi, simul ac nummos contemplar in arca." "People hiss at me, but I clap for myself at home while I count coins in a chest." (liberally "People boo and hiss at me, but I give myself a round of applause while I'm sitting at home counting my money.") The reading with the sentence break between plaudo and ispe is possible, but it's pretty clumsy.

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Or as we would say these days, "I cry all the way to the bank." :p

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re: the sudden interlude in the valley of death, mormon country etc etc.... i have a mental collection of sorts of antipathetic crticisms of these chapters; the most vitriolic i've so far found from a 'respectable' source is Ian Sinclair, in his intro to the Penguin Classics edition. He says it is so staggeringly bad that aside from being a youthful and inexperienced offence on Doyle's part, it also suggest he's being paid by the word and is desperately padding...!

 

(of course we, and Ian surely, knows Doyle was doing no such thing, and was a penniless Doctor at the time)

 

I'm not well versed in Victorian Literature..... was this sort of lenghty narrated aside a conventional part of most novels of the period??

 

 

(p.s i'll say this once again.... i actually LIKE it!)

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re: the sudden interlude in the valley of death, mormon country etc etc.... i have a mental collection of sorts of antipathetic crticisms of these chapters; the most vitriolic i've so far found from a 'respectable' source is Ian Sinclair, in his intro to the Penguin Classics edition. He says it is so staggeringly bad that aside from being a youthful and inexperienced offence on Doyle's part, it also suggest he's being paid by the word and is desperately padding...!

 

(of course we, and Ian surely, knows Doyle was doing no such thing, and was a penniless Doctor at the time)

 

I'm not well versed in Victorian Literature..... was this sort of lenghty narrated aside a conventional part of most novels of the period??

 

 

(p.s i'll say this once again.... i actually LIKE it!)

 

Well, I'm glad to know I'm not the only to wonder whether Doyle was being paid by the word -- or, more charitably, being pressured by his publisher to come up with a certain length.

 

My experience with Victorian literature is mercifully limited, but as I recall, yes, it does tend to go on a bit.  And as I recall from reading Ben-Hur, the descriptions tend to be concentrated together, rather than sprinkled in among the action and dialog, so that when the point-of-view character walks into a new room, he stops dead in his tracks and notices every detail of the furnishings as well as who else is in there and what they're wearing -- and then a couple of pages later, he continues on into the room.  Not too much different from Conan Doyle's way of wandering off to Utah to provide a motive.

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