Book review: A Study in Scarlet, by Arthur Conan Doyle, illustrated by Gris Grimly

Doyle, Arthur Conan. A Study in Scarlet. Il. Gris Grimly. Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins. 2015. $17.99. 278p. 978-0-06-229375-6. Ages 12+:

Doyle Study in ScarletOriginally published in 1887, the author’s first book has been reissued for young adults, complete with drawings. The dual setting of the plot is London, where a man is found in an empty house with no indications of how or why he died, and the western United States, where earlier conflicts within a Mormon community led to the killing. It is the book when crime expert Sherlock Holmes meets and develops a relationship with former military medic Dr. Watson as they work to solve the mystery and stay alive. Scarlet is the first published novel to show the art of deduction, and the writing and pacing seem almost contemporary despite the nineteenth-century language. Unfortunately, the frenetic and ridiculous illustrations, a cross between anime and steampunk, fail to work in this genre. Nevertheless, a new audience will enjoy the book, especially with many Sherlock Holmes tales and spinoffs on television and in the movies. P8Q8 (because of the illustrations)

February/March 2015 review by Nel Ward.

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