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Book Title: En studie i rött|
The author of the book: Arthur Conan Doyle
The size of the: 931 KB
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Reader ratings: 4.3
Format files: PDF
Date of issue: 2002
ISBN 13: 9789177421986
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The birth of a legend....
This is it...the novel in which Sir Arthur ushered the world’s greatest second best detective (after Batman) into our collective consciousness. Being the non-conformist rebel that I am, I started off bassackwards by reading The Valley of Fear and then The Adventure of the Final Problem because those were the two stories with Moriarty in them. Shocking, I know, but that’s just how I roll. Btw, it still really chaffs my cheeks that Doyle wrote 56 short stories and 4 novels about Holmes and the arch-enemy appears in exactly TWO. I know less is sometimes more but, come on Doyle, that is on the scrimpy side of weak.
Anyway, I have now circled back and returned to the genesis of the Sherlockian mythos and begun with the tale that started it all. Now, for those that have never read any of the Holmes mysteries, I have come to believe that your level of enjoyment of these stories will be directly proportional to your feelings toward Sherlock Holmes himself. Sir Arthur’s a fine writer and his prose is concise and polished with enough flair to make reading him very enjoyable. In addition, his plotting and pacing are excellent and I think mystery fans will appreciate both the content and structure of the central investigation and the procedural components of clue-gathering and interpretation.
These things all point towards a pleasurable experience, However, in the end, the most important barometer in gauging your level of happy will be your reaction to Holmes himself. Thus, I thought I would focus most of my review’s attention on his character bio after briefly summing up the plot as follows:
Holmes and Watson meet....murder is committed...Holmes investigates....clues are found...Holmes figures it out....a murderer is caught...long flashback to America where Doyle does a Krakauer-style expose on Mormons describing and their child-stealing, polygamous ways...jump forward to present.... all is made clear..... Watson slobbers all over Holmes.......
A STUDY IN CHARACTER:
Now, let’s take a look at Sherlock’s profile. Whether you are a hater or a homey when it comes to Holmes, I think most people would agree with the following attributes:
** The man is unlikeable...very unlikeable...extremely unlikeable.
** He is self-absorbed to the point of being sociopathic.
** His has zero empathy for the victims of the crimes he investigates.
** He is so egotistical that it actually makes his general unlikeability pale in comparison
** While never explicitly diagnosed, he is a severe manic-depressive
** He is inconsiderate, callous, cold and socially inept.
From a personality standpoint, one of my buddies here on GR said it best...Holmes is “a dick.”
Despite that, I find myself very much in the “homey” camp and think he’s among the more fascinating creations in the annals of literature. Part of that appeal is precisely because he is such a prickish turd in the social skill department. However it his mental faculties, the trait he is best known for, that makes him so intriguing.
Yes, he is brilliant. However, that is not the end of the story Paul Harvey because it is a unique and very specialized kind of brilliance. Holmes knows the details, and I mean details, of every major crime to have been perpetrated in Europe (and possibly beyond) over the last 500 years. He can also distinguish between every variety of dirt or soil in London and and can tell you the precise brand of tobacco/pipe/cigar simply by its ash.
However, as is divulged in this story, Holmes also has no idea that the Earth travels around the sun. Further, “of contemporary literature, philosophy and politics he appeared to know next to nothing.” How can a man of such singular ability be so woefully lacking in common knowledge. Holmes explains to Watson thusly: I consider that a man's brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skillful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones. This just struck me as particularly awesome from a story perspective. Not only does such a philosophy provide a cloak of believability to Sherlock’s preternatural detecting skills, but his glaring knowledge deficiencies make him that much more fascinating as a character.
I guess I just find Doyle’s profile of Holmes to be superb. He is like a “not quite human” storm of deduction. He’s dispassionate, callous and unimaginably effective. Additionally, he solves crimes not because of a perceived duty, but merely because it is the only thing that keeps the boredom of life away. That and the giant stroking his ego gets when he does “the big explain” which is always entertaining and makes each story worth reading all by itself.
Finally, I also see Holmes as a tragic figure. He is a sad, lonely and devoid of any lasting sense of contentment or pleasure. While alive and invigorated when the game is afoot, most of his time is spent as a mere husk of a man with no feeling of day-to-day happiness.
All of this makes Holmes an extraordinarily compelling figure to me and one I hope to spend a lot more time reading about. While I did not enjoy this as much as The Adventure of the Final Problem (my favorite so far), I was still glued to the page watching Holmes maneuver through his scenes and really enjoyed the flashback portion set in America.
I look forward to many more of his adventures.
4.0 stars. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!
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Read information about the authorSir Arthur Conan Doyle was born the third of ten siblings on 22 May 1859 in Edinburgh, Scotland. His father, Charles Altamont Doyle, was born in England of Irish descent, and his mother, born Mary Foley, was Irish. They were married in 1855.
Although he is now referred to as "Conan Doyle", the origin of this compound surname (if that is how he meant it to be understood) is uncertain. His baptism record in the registry of St Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh gives 'Arthur Ignatius Conan' as his Christian name, and simply 'Doyle' as his surname. It also names Michael Conan as his godfather.
At the age of nine Conan Doyle was sent to the Roman Catholic Jesuit preparatory school, Hodder Place, Stonyhurst. He then went on to Stonyhurst College, leaving in 1875.
From 1876 to 1881 he studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh. This required that he provide periodic medical assistance in the towns of Aston (now a district of Birmingham) and Sheffield. While studying, Conan Doyle began writing short stories. His first published story appeared in "Chambers's Edinburgh Journal" before he was 20. Following his graduation, he was employed as a ship's doctor on the SS Mayumba during a voyage to the West African coast. He completed his doctorate on the subject of tabes dorsalis in 1885.
In 1885 Conan Doyle married Louisa (or Louise) Hawkins, known as "Touie". She suffered from tuberculosis and died on 4 July 1906. The following year he married Jean Elizabeth Leckie, whom he had first met and fallen in love with in 1897. Due to his sense of loyalty he had maintained a purely platonic relationship with Jean while his first wife was alive. Jean died in London on 27 June 1940.
Conan Doyle fathered five children. Two with his first wife—Mary Louise (28 January 1889 – 12 June 1976), and Arthur Alleyne Kingsley, known as Kingsley (15 November 1892 – 28 October 1918). With his second wife he had three children—Denis Percy Stewart (17 March 1909 – 9 March 1955), second husband in 1936 of Georgian Princess Nina Mdivani (circa 1910 – 19 February 1987; former sister-in-law of Barbara Hutton); Adrian Malcolm (19 November 1910–3 June 1970) and Jean Lena Annette (21 December 1912–18 November 1997).
Conan Doyle was found clutching his chest in the hall of Windlesham, his house in Crowborough, East Sussex, on 7 July 1930. He had died of a heart attack at age 71. His last words were directed toward his wife: "You are wonderful." The epitaph on his gravestone in the churchyard at Minstead in the New Forest, Hampshire, reads:
ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE
PATRIOT, PHYSICIAN & MAN OF LETTERS
Conan Doyle's house, Undershaw, located in Hindhead, south of London, where he had lived for a decade, had been a hotel and restaurant between 1924 and 2004. It now stands empty while conservationists and Conan Doyle fans fight to preserve it.
A statue honours Conan Doyle at Crowborough Cross in Crowborough, where Conan Doyle lived for 23 years. There is also a statue of Sherlock Holmes in Picardy Place, Edinburgh, close to the house where Conan Doyle was born.
* Sherlock Holmes
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