A Study in Scarlet

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A Study in Scarlet
ArthurConanDoyle AStudyInScarlet annual.jpg
First edition in annual cover, 1887
AuthorSir Arthur Conan Doyle
CountryUnited Kingdom
SeriesSherlock Holmes
GenreDetective fiction, crime, mystery, novel
PublisherWard Lock
Publication date
1887 in annual (1888 in book form)

A Study in Scarlet is a detective mystery novel written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It introduces his new characters, the detective Sherlock Holmes and his friend, Dr. John Watson. They became two of the most famous characters in literature.

Conan Doyle wrote the story in 1886, and it was published the next year. Holmes describes the story's murder investigation as his "study in scarlet": "There's the scarlet thread of murder running through the colourless skein of life, and our duty is to unravel it, and isolate it, and expose every inch of it".[1]

The story and its main characters attracted little public interest when it first appeared. It was published in Beeton's Christmas Annual for 1887. Only 11 complete copies of the Annual exist now, and they have considerable value.[2] Although Conan Doyle wrote 56 short stories about Holmes, A Study in Scarlet is one of only four full-length Holmes novels. The novel was followed by The Sign of the Four, published in 1890.

A Study in Scarlet was the first work of detective fiction to have the magnifying glass as an investigative tool.[3]

Original illustration of Holmes with magnifying glass

References[change | change source]

  1. Conan Doyle A. A Study in Scarlet, Chapter 4.
  2. "bestofsherlock.com, ''Beeton's Christmas Annual 1887: An Annotated Checklist and Census''". Bestofsherlock.com. Retrieved 2012-09-15.
  3. Sweeney, Susan Elizabeth (2003). "The magnifying glass: spectacular distance in Poe's "Man of the Crowd" and beyond". Poe Studies/Dark Romanticism 36 (1–2): 3.