A Study in Scarlet (Sherlock Holmes #1) by Arthur Conan Doyle
If you’ve ever wondered how Sherlock Holmes got to be Sherlock Holmes, well…this isn’t exactly that story. BUT we do find out how Sherlock and John Watson meet and form their unofficial detecting partnership. A Study in Scarlet is the novel that started it all, and for that, we all give thanks.
John Watson is a military doctor who is injured and seeking respite and a place to live in London. Chance brings him into the company of Sherlock Holmes, a private detective who does some consulting for the police and for his own logical curiosity. When they discover a man’s body on the Brixton Road, the word rache is printed in blood. The only other clues are a wedding ring, a watch, and a pocket edition of The Decameron. Sherlock Holmes guides us through with his famous empirical observations and logic to solve a complex and complicated case that leads back several years to a Mormon settlement in Utah (no, really).
This novel is a great introduction to the Sherlock Holmes phenomena. If you’re looking for a place to start, here at the beginning is by all means a great spot to do so. Now, you can skip around with a few of the collections if you want to, but this novel brings John and Sherlock together and establishes their practice. While this is not my favorite of the novels (mine will always be The Hound of the Baskervilles, in part, thanks to Wishbone), it is definitely a primer in the ways of Sherlock’s infamous deduction. He walks you through his reasoning and helps you see the world through his eyes.