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A Study in Scarlet: 05/06/12

cover art

A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was first published in Beeton's Christmas Annual. It's been more than 20 years since I first read it but after seeing Moffat's take on it as "A Study in Pink" I wanted to refresh my memory. Ian Edginton's graphic novel version of A Study in Scarlet was a fun way to revisit the original mystery.

This is the story that introduces Dr. Watson, newly returned from Afghanistan, to Sherlock Holmes. Watson is in need of affordable housing and Holmes is in need of a roommate who won't be put off by his odd hours, odd profession and numerous experiments.

Their first case together involves a man who is lying dead in a pool of blood without any sign of trauma. In the blood he has written Rache but where the blood came from and what the German word for revenge has to do with anything has the police stumped.

I didn't have the original text with me to compare editing choices that must have been made but the text and dialog is still recognizably Doyle. The lettering is clear and easy to read. The color pallets tend towards monochrome and sepia, mimicking old style newspapers and photographs.

My only problem with the book is the character design of Sherlock himself. I realize Sherlock is described as tall, with broad shoulders and a strong chin, but the chin drawn on him is bizarre and gawk-worthy. His chin is so long that there's a line drawn on it where his chin should stop to make the facial expressions work, except then the chin extends well on beyond it.

Three stars

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