Sunday, January 18, 2015

A Study in Scarlet

A Study in Scarlet
By - Arthur Conan Doyle
Published - 1888
Format - PDF

This is the very first Sherlock Holmes Story, and one that I have never read before. It tells the story from Dr Watson's Point of View, and includes the facts of how Watson came to be sharing an apartment (or flat as they are called in England) with Holmes in London.

Then came the case, where an American was found dead in an old empty house, with no obvious cause of death. His business cards identified him as an American, and the word RACHE was printed on the wall in blood. A woman's wedding ring was also found at the site.

A few days later a second American was found dead in a hotel. But he was stabbed to death. Once again the word RACHE was printed in blood on the wall.

The race was on between Scotland Yard, the London Police and Sherlock Homes as to who would solve the case first.

One of the Cops assumed that the full word should have been RACHEL.

Sherlock however knew that Rache was the German word for revenge. He telegraphed to the USA asking about the victims and if they were ever involved in a fight over a woman.

It turns out that both of the two dead men were former members of the Mormon church which at that time, practiced Polygamy, or allowed the men to have multiple wives.

There was a young girl growing up in Salt Lake City whose father was determined to never marry, because he did not want to have multiple wives, so he remained celibate. He did have an adopted daughter. It was his wish that the daughter would never become the wife of a Mormon. She fell in love with a man named Jefferson Hope who was a miner and NOT a Mormon. .

The Church elders began threatening the father to give his daughter to one of their sons, or something bad would happen. So the father, the daughter and Jefferson Hope all tried to escape from the Valley. The girl was dragged off, and raped by one of the Elders sons, so that he could claim her as his wife.  The father was killed and only Jefferson Hope escaped. He followed the elders sons, and waited to get his revenge.

It took him 20 years, and it happened outside of the USA, but he finally got his revenge. He killed the first victim by poison. He stabbed the second victim when he was being attacked. When Hope was captured, he told Sherlock that he was already dying of a bad heart and did not expect to live long.

Having told his story - the second part of this book consisted of 5 rather boring chapters of Mormon religion and culture - and had his revenge - Jefferson Hope was ready to meet his maker.

The Phrase - A Study in Scarlet - refers to the blood that erupted from Jefferson Hope's nose after his first victim died. This indicated that he already had a bad heart.

The first part of this book was good. We see the details in how Holmes finds his clues and teases Dr Watson about what will happen next. 

If I had known that the second half of this novel was a dry essay on the Mormon religion, culture and the righteousness of having multiple wives, I never would have bothered to read this book.

I detest religion of any kind.

Be warned. 

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