Saturday, July 30, 2011
A Study in Scarlet
As a reader and a writer of detective stories I have always been influenced by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s masterful detective Sherlock Holmes. This influence led me to write The Canadian Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Battered Silicon Dispatch Box, 2004).
In September BBC Books is reissuing A Study in Scarlet, with an introduction by Steven Moffat, co-creator of the Sherlock television show.
A Study in Scarlet was the first Sherlock Holmes story, written in 1886 by a 27 year-old Conan Doyle. The story was published in Beeton’s Christmas Annual in 1887.
Though Conan Doyle would go on to write 56 short stories of Holmes, A Study in Scarlet was the first of only four full-length novels the author would write.
Though not perhaps the most popular Sherlock Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet was the first and so deserves considerable consideration.
The story is divided into two parts. The first part introduce the reader to Holmes and Watson and a couple of murders. The second part tells the tale of what led to the murders.
After The Canadian Adventures of Sherlock Holmes was published, as a writer I felt all Holmesed-out. I had come up with ten mysteries for Holmes and Watson as they sailed to Canada and then proceeded to cross the country. I did not think I could ever come up with another Holmes adventure. I do not know how Conan Doyle had written so many.
After some time had passed I did get the itch to write another Holmes adventure, only this time I would write it a full-length novel, not unlike A Study in Scarlet. I even borrowed Conan Doyle’s introduction to the second part of his first Holmes story in which he wrote: In the central portion of the great North American Continent there lies an arid and repulsive desert....
My Holmes story is entitled Cold Hearted Murder, and since the second part of my story takes place in the Yukon Territory I started with: In the northwest corner of the great North American Continent is a land much like the one God gave to Cain. It is a land as inhospitable as one is likely to find on this earth....
Cold Hearted Murder is being presented in installments and can be read on this blog.