A Study In Scarlet

ISBN: 1613822391

I don’t know how I made it to 34 years of age without reading a Sherlock Holmes book. I started with the first one, A Study In Scarlet. I was not disappointed.

Holmes is a freelance detective who has an insatiable hunger for knowledge across multiple fields of science. This gives him amazingly intuitive powers, such as being able to guess someone’s profession from looking at them. He can also mentally recreate crime scenes. His mind is a synergy of unrelated disciplines that gives him unparalleled power in solving crime.

This book is about one particular case of murder that the local detectives hire Holmes to help solve.

I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skillful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.


“You don’t seem to give much thought to the matter in hand,” I said at last, interrupting Holmes’ musical disquisition.

“No data yet,” he answered. “It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgment.


“It is a mistake to confound strangeness with mystery. The most commonplace crime is often the most mysterious because it presents no new or special features from which deductions may be drawn. This murder would have been infinitely more difficult to unravel had the body of the victim been simply found lying in the roadway without any of those outré and sensational accompaniments which have rendered it remarkable. These strange details, far from making the case more difficult, have really had the effect of making it less so.”


“There is no satisfaction in vengeance unless the offender has time to realize who it is that strikes him, and why retribution has come upon him. I had my plans arranged by which I should have the opportunity of making the man who had wronged me understand that his old sin had found him out.”


“What you do in this world is a matter of no consequence,” returned my companion, bitterly. “The question is, what can you make people believe that you have done.”

The second half of the book, which describes the motive for the crime, was quite a page turner. When I finished it, I went straight to Amazon to purchase the entire Sherlock Holmes collection, and have since gotten to work on them. Recommended.

Read More: “A Study In Scarlet” on Amazon

41 thoughts on “A Study In Scarlet”

  1. I remember reading this story on New Year’s Day in 2008. Among other things, the narrative shows what it means to live a purposeful life.

  2. was wondering when you’d get on the Sherlock books.
    highly recommended. when I was a kid my dad would read the shorts that appeared in the Strand to me at night. Sherlock has been my favorite hero ever since.

  3. The early Holmes stories are the best, i.e. up to and including his showdown with Moriarty. IMO, Robert Downey Jr.’s portrayal of Holmes comes the closest to Holmes’s personality in the books.

    1. Not sure that I agree BL. While RD Jr certainly captured Holmes’ eccentricities, I found the fight scenes to be rather absurd. Holmes the character would be more likely to drawn Watson’s pistol or slap someone with his leather gloves!

      1. Nonsense! Holmes is described in the first series as being an amateur boxing champion! Have you even read Doyle, bro?

      2. As Richard said, Watson describes Holmes as a great amateur boxer in “Scarlet.” Plus he handles a bar fight like a boss in one of the later stories. The pit fighting scene in the movie was based on a throw away line from the stories where a thug said he recalls seeing Holmes in a fight a while back.

      3. Watson used his gun a couple of times in the stories, like when he shot the giant hound. But Holmes could use a gun and the walls of his place had bullet holes in them from when he practised. If you read the stories you would also know that Moriarty had developed a powerful air rifle. There are powerful air rifles made in England, and also by Walther, that can kill a person. If I remember correctly Holmes knew about these guns and that Moriarty wanted to kill him so he made a wax figure of himself and sat it near a window. Sure enough he found it with the head blown off.

    2. What’s your opinion on Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal in the BBC series and CBS’s?

  4. Nice, started reading through them all this summer actually, some of the short stories are really good too. Holmes is an awesome character. I like his total ignorance for certain things vs his complete knowledge of other topics that are useful to him. Fuck the newspaper!

    1. …and he doesn’t even know the earth goes round the sun or the order of the planets…he sees it as useless information.

      1. I’m sure he was aware of all these things and was just teasing Watson a bit. They just didn’t have any relevance to his work.

  5. Make sure that the Sherlock Holmes collection you buy has the wonderful Sidney Paget sketches. I have seen some of the more recent collections omit the sketches to save space. The drawings are a big part of the fun.

  6. “What you do in this world is a matter of no consequence,” returned my
    companion, bitterly. “The question is, what can you make people believe
    that you have done.”
    Paradoxically the exact opposite is also true if one considers the “who cares what others think” rule.

  7. I’m glad Roosh liked this. Arthur Conan Doyle was a fascinating character. A medical doctor by profession, he had a wide variety of interests. He may have been behind the “Piltdown Man” anthropological hoax. And some of the spiritualism he got into near the end of his life shows that he had many sides to his personality. I actually like his tales of the supernatural and science fiction, which are not so popular today but I think are excellent.
    My favorite triage of British Victorian writers is Doyle, H.G. Wells, and H. Rider Haggard.

    1. My best friend and I have agreed to pursue a living arrangement like that of Dr. Watson and Holmes when we are nearing retirement….a shared flat like theirs at 221 B Baker Street, a live-in cook/maid, a shared living room with a fireplace that can be used for smoking cigars, drinking sherry, playing music and having conversations. An Epicurean friendship and lifestyle….
      since we are pushing 40, and since marriage is definitely UNLIKELY, we think that this lifestyle is preferable to spending the twilight years in solitude…
      your thoughts?

      1. You’re not even close to your twilight years, man. No need to fret about that in your 30s. We cannot know with certainty where life will take us. Do the best you can with the information you have now.
        You’re doing just fine. Not everyone can call Vienna home.

      2. Your own age changes your perspective on age. A seventy or eighty year old man would see you as very young. So much can be accomplished in just a year or two when things get into gear. There are many examples of people who started and built great businesses and enterprises, became talents and succeeded who were well over 40 or 50.

      3. Watson was married to a wealthy female although he did spend a lot of time with Holmes going on ‘adventures”
        You have to also remember that writers of the time never really wrote anything about sex and Holmes and Watson may have been shagging girls and you have to sort of read between the lines.It wasn’t just sex they left out but almost anything considered vulgar. You never hear about a female having her period or a case of diarrhoea and they’ll just write that she was indisposed. You’ll sometimes read that a female was in confinement but all this meant was that she was really showing pregnancy(like maybe 7 months on) and didn’t socialise because females with swollen bellies were considered vulgar in public. It wasn’t really puritanism but more of a class thing that anyone from a good middle class and above would avoid anything vulgar, especially when females were present. They would not even mention rape in court cases having to do with it and just say that the female was subjected to extreme outrage.
        If you’re reading a novel in this period (and also long after) and it says that the man kissed the women passionately it means that he f–ked her.
        In fact, a lot of these customs were right up until the 60’s and even in films and early rock songs they used euphemisms. In early Chuck Berry songs where he sings they were reelin’ and rockin’ and dancing all night it really means he was fu–ing her all night.
        “Hey, what are you talking about? I was just signing about dancing with little sweet 16 and little Queenie lol

    2. H g wells is great as is Conan Doyle. I had not heard of Haggard, so I will look him up. I also like Kipling with his books and poems.

      1. Haggard is definitely not high literature, but to me he’s special. I think his book “King Solomon’s Mines” is the best adventure novel ever written. It was one of those books that I can say was a big influence on my life. Pure adventure, pure energy. If you hear nothing else I ever say, hear me on this: read this book.
        His other great adventure novels are: “She” and one called “Ayesha”. His main protagonist in all these novels is a character named Allan Quatermain. Now that would be a good RVF handle.

  8. The works of Edgar Allan Poe greatly influenced Arthur Conan Doyle. Not only the stories about Dupin. One of the excerpts above reads almost exactly as the beginning of “The Cask of Amontillado”.

    1. Watson mentions Dupin and his methods in one of the stories to Holmes and compares him to him. But Holmes doesn’t think much of him.

  9. It seems to me that Books on Sherlock Holmes and the books by Jane Austen are the best of the classic books of fiction. That being said, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World is amazingly bad. You can just tell he’s never left England, and yet he attempts to explain exploration while halfway around the world. I suppose being as knowledgeable as he was about England left little room for foreign places.

    1. You’re wrong. Doyle was Scottish and was around the world. He was partly educated in Austria.He also worked as a doctor on a whaling ship and as a ship’s surgeon doing business in Africa.

  10. The Sherlock Holmes stories became part of the geek culture which emerged in late Victorian times and has matured into the background assumptions of the geek characters in The Big Bang Theory sitcom. (Jules Verne probably deserves credit for inventing this genre.)
    I’ve wondered why geek culture arose then and not earlier. Did it have something to do with changes in the economy during the Industrial Revolution in favor of men who could understand the new sciences and technologies involving steam power, machines, electricity and chemistry, and who therefore could relate to popular fiction which referenced these new ideas? Doyle’s stories often feature a science component, for example, which earlier generations of readers might have found incomprehensible.

  11. Sherlock Holmes is great. The quotes you list are so clever. I especially like the one that says it what people thing you have done and not what you have done that are important.

  12. Roosh..this is quality. So much better than nasty and cruel articles about getting girlfriends to have abortions.

  13. Cool …I gotta read Sherlock Holmes. A follow on….read “Mastermind- How to think like Sherlock Holmes” by Maria Konnikova . Uses the Sherlock Holmes books as guides on reason and logic in our lives. Plus the author is hot. A definite “would bang”….

  14. I was a big fan of Sherlock Holmes book as a teen and highly recommended them!
    Really enjoy Arthur Conan Doyle`s writing style.

  15. I read all of the 50+ stories and 4 novels at 14, and in my mid teens
    all of the Ian Fleming Bond books. I also read a volume of stories
    written by authors at the time of Doyle in the same genre, The Rivals of
    Sherlock Holmes the volume was called.
    Let me just correct some
    misconceptions here. Watson was an army doctor wounded in the Afghan War
    who had no family and was living on a pension which was how he met
    Holmes and they sort of shared expenses in a townhouse where the
    landlady lived on the ground floor and cooked and cleaned for them.
    didn’t actually live with Holmes after the second story, The Sign Of
    Four,. He was recovering from a bullet shattered leg which was why he
    limped and I guess also some sort of traumatic stress. Holmes didn’t
    have any cases and was basically just shooting cocaine every day. Watson
    finally tells him as a doctor that he’s ruining his brain and Holmes
    just replies, he’s bored. Anyway, Holmes gets a case from woman of
    about 20 and he recovered a lot of money for her. Watson who I’d guess
    is in his early 30’s marries the now rich 20yo and moves into his own
    house with the wife (Yes, Watson had game). He seems to have practised
    medicine again but with the now rich wife didn’t need the money and
    spent a lot of time going along with Holmes on cases.
    “Honey, I’m going away with Holmes to Cornwall for a week” All right dear.
    The females never seem to complain in these stories or even question the husbands about what they’re doing.
    should read the story, The Man With The Twisted Lip. I won’t ruin it
    but Holmes is hired by a wife to find her missing husband so of course
    he has to interview her and get as much info as possible. She’s living a
    good middle class life in the suburbs but says her husband has no
    occupation and goes into the city on business or something.
    Now, can
    you imagine any female today not knowing what her husband is doing
    (usually for every minute of the day lol), where he goes or how much
    money he makes? Anyway, read the story.

  16. And Roosh, if you want to learn about female nature read the stories written by another doctor, Anton Chekov.
    Thomas Hardy is good too.

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