I am starting to read  <The Complete Sherlock Holmes> now.  As we all know the book is a collection of many stories, so I better write things done as I am reading rather than wait until the end. Because the stories are of novella-length, each review/notes is going to be pretty short as well.  Also there will be no major spoilers. Here is the first one.

A Study in Scarlet is the debut of Sherlock Holmes.  The story actually spend quite a lot of effort to introduce and elaborate the way Sherlock work with deduction. Details (facts) -> Alternatives that could have lead/generate the facts -> Eliminate alternatives that are impossible -> Cracking the case.  What Sherlock does so much better than others is that he dedicate almost his entire brain power to only the things that matter to the above process (such as attention to detail and arcane knowledge), and stick to that process, which he calls “elementary”.  (BTW Elementary is my favorite show on TV nowadays.)

In addition to introducing us to the main characters of the Sherlock Holmes series, the main plot is about a murder with 20 years cross-Atlantic background. In fact it is a combination of two stories (a murder in London and a romantic tragedy in America). Every crime as a background story. But this one in America is pretty elaborated so as to a standalone story by itself, through which it is revealed that the murderer was seeking a revenge that the murdered well deserved. The story also alluded to the systemic suppression of freedom and  organized crime committed in the name or religion.

Sherlock may forever complain to Watson (or Doyle) as “romanticizing” the story rather than sticking to the “science and logic” through which the cases are cracked.  This probably was in fact the interesting trade-off Doyle wasn’t unsure about as he kicked start the Sherlock Holmes series.  There is no surprise that he made those two equal in the first story.

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