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Summary

Originally named A Tangled Skein, this is the first Sherlock Holmes story. The real strength and the unique quality of the novel lies in the introduction of Holmes and Watson to each other - and those dark early scenes when a corpse is discovered in a derelict house in southeast London. The ultimate crusader against crime and criminals, Holmes' genius is revealed here for the very first time.
Public Domain (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about A Study in Scarlet

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Brilliant

You know Sherlock Holmes. You've seen adaptations on TV, you know his stories. But, listening/reading the books is just wonderful. By reading, you gain a deeper understanding of Holmes, of Watson, of Victorian England and Derek Jacobi is an amazing narrator. He is perfect for the job. Also, by reading some of the books you get the added bonus of the second part of the story which gives you the background to the current case. So even though you may be familiar with the stories, have a listen and instead of being preoccupied with 'who done it' (cos you probably know already), enjoy the journey and allow Holmes to lead you there in his own unique way.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

A study in Sherlock

Having been bored by other audiobooks in the past, I was unsure how Sherlock Holmes would fare. I need not have worried, in the capable voice of Derek Jacobi you find a well modulated voice, with none of the sleep inducing drone of other narrators, and a subtle touch with character voices that doesn't descend into characature. If you want Sherlock on audio it has to be Jacobi.

2 people found this helpful

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Inimitable Holmes


Study in Scarlet is the introduction of Sherlock Holmes. It’s a great story of two halves .. the emotive American drama and the analytical more prosaic English sequel. I don’t recall Holmes being portrayed quite as self promoting or as arrogant in any other long or short story and if my memory serves, Conan Doyle manages to insert the most Latin phrases; but it does in many ways, set the scene, both for character and the “method”. There are no half measures for the collection of Holmes’ ... if you read one, you are expected to read them all, and more than once in a lifetime.
I found Derrick Jacobi authentic, though perhaps a little stiff as narrator , and Stephen Fry has pretty well claimed this spot.

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The beginning.of Holmes and Watson !

Derek Jacobi brings such fresh life to the well-known and familiar story of when Holmes and Watson met. But Derek Jacobi really is the consummate performer and made for the job. I so enjoyed it I then went to the next book in the series The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and I have to add it is equally as good. If you are looking for great comforting listening that carries gently along then I can recommend this.

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Holmes' Debut

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes. It is a very good story, and worth it to learn how Holmes and Watson became friends.

What does Derek Jacobi bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Derek Jacobi is brilliant, and excellent at Sherlock Holmes.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No. The story is split into two parts; the first is all about Holmes and Watson, while the second is told in flashback. This is interesting, though not quite as gripping.

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The Beginning of it All

If you could sum up A Study in Scarlet in three words, what would they be?

Meeting, Murder, Investigation

What was one of the most memorable moments of A Study in Scarlet?

There so many, it's difficult to pick one.

What about Derek Jacobi’s performance did you like?

He was just so natural and brought every character to life.

Any additional comments?

I remember reading this one years ago and especially The Adventures of Sherlock Homes, which was my first foray into this amazing character. This is the best book to start with, as it tells of how Watson and Holmes met, began to live together and Watson's first experience of assisting him in a myrder investigation.

It can often be so easy to laugh at the blunders the police make, but that's really because we often know the stories. Gregson and Lestrade certainly make blunders in this book and especially Gregson in his arrest of the wrong person. However, we must look at it from the point of view of the police. Gregson's arrest was understandable at the time, but Holmes, although he wins in the end, doesn't sneer at the police, in fact, before the criminal is revealed, he assures Gregson and Lestrade that he is fully prepared to take responsibility if he messes up. But you do feel for the police as they get more frustrated. They want their man, which is natural.

This is an excellent book and if you haven't tried Sherlock Holmes, I urge you to begin.

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Fabulous and Underrated

I had never read any Sherlock Holmes at all, but was pleasantly surprised by the first half of this book as quite a delightful little English frolic.

The second half of the book, though, is completely different. The first half is your typical set up - crime scene, Sherlock being obscure and then, ta-da! He has your man. The second half then tells the back-story of the perpetrator, and is like an entirely different book - set in pioneer country, and is so atmospheric, a million miles away from Baker Street. I was totally absorbed in the story of Jefferson Hope. How has this story never been told on its own before? By the time it catches up with present day London, I'd quite forgotten about Sherlock. The book then ends with the formulaic, "and this is how I did it" which is just a couple of chapters of Sherlock rambling on, frankly, but the story of Jefferson Hope really stuck with me, and I realised that was the real story, and not Sherlock at all.

I'm looking forward to reading other Sherlock Holmes stories to see if any of the other tales comes close to this.

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  • Felicia J
  • 04-11-13

The result of all our study in scarlet ...

"That's the result of all our study in scarlet: to get them a testimonial!"

I've long wanted to experience all of the Sherlock Holmes stories in publication order. When I found a set on Audible narrated by the wonderful British stage actor Derek Jacobi, I could not resist downloading the first two novellas: "A Study in Scarlet" and "The Sign of the Four." I very much enjoyed Jacobi's characterizations, especially of Holmes, Watson and the befuddled Scotland Yard inspectors, Gregson and Lestrade. (His American accents in the story's second half, however, were sometimes painfully awkward.)

"A Study in Scarlet" introduces the famous partnership of Dr. John Watson and Mr. Sherlock Holmes ("You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive") as well as the brilliant Holmes's methods of observation and deduction. In the first half of the tale, Holmes tracks down and apprehends a murderer bent on chilling revenge. The story's second half relates what happened decades before in Utah to set this determined man on his murderous path.

Although others have found the shift from Watson's first-person narration to the third-person flashback to be jarring, both narrative threads held my interest. The crime and its solution were put together cleverly and logically, although this is not a fair-play mystery readers can solve for themselves. The denouement was a bit too quick for my tastes; I don't believe Doyle left any loose threads dangling, but I would have appreciated a more fleshed-out ending to balance the long flashback detailing the killer's motive.

The best part of the story was glimpsing the beginning of the friendship between Holmes and Watson, which would soon captivate the reading public. This was a very enjoyable weekend listen, and I've already queued up "The Sign of the Four" for my next listen.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Lorraine Poirier
  • 14-12-12

Excellent as expected.

Where does A Study in Scarlet rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Upper level.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

I'd read the story a while ago.

What about Derek Jacobi’s performance did you like?

Everything. The man is talented.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I listen during my commute. There were times I sat in the driveway until a section ended, but I've read it before, so no, not all in one sitting.

Any additional comments?

Jacobi and Holmes. Perfect combination.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Zeno
  • 09-10-20

What's not to love? Holmes and Jacobi!

I must have read this story a bunch of times - never listened to it before this. It was quite a joy with Derek Jacobi regaling me with his voice and craft.

There's a wonderful shift in "A Study in Scarlet" - one that transports you into another world and time and I had not remembered it as vividly from previous readings. The first part of the story is a pleasure in itself, as it gives you the Watson/Holmes friendship origin story - how they met, how Watson first learns about Holmes' many sleuthing talents. It's a story of murder and it unfolds as one expects from a Sherlock Holmes story ... but then the second part kicks in and suddenly, Holmes and Watson are out of the picture, gone.

Part two regales you with a marvelous tale set in pre-statehood Nevada and Utah, a time when the Mormons fled to find a home and eventually settled and built Salt Lake City. It's a powerful story about a man and a child, about being found and saved by the Mormons - about the Mormon way of life and the more sinister side of it all, with the infamous Destroying Angels, with Brigham Young himself showing up as threat personified, with a lovers' escape, murder and the the birth of revenge ... which then leads us back to London where it all comes together ... but, trust me, that part two really is quite wonderful in the way it is such a complete shift into another world.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Sandy
  • 02-01-12

Great Listen!

What made the experience of listening to A Study in Scarlet the most enjoyable?

Derek Jacobi's voices and tone are superb.

What did you like best about this story?

The best part of this story is the story, of course. I love Conan Doyle.

What does Derek Jacobi bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The different voices and tones in his voice.

2 people found this helpful

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  • C.J.
  • 16-10-20

Wonderful Narration

I've read the book and have listened to many enjoyable audio versions, but this is the first version to do justice to the American accents within the story.
a highly enjoyable listen!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Aline Leal
  • 12-10-20

Good

It's a very good story, although the first half of the second part made me a little sleepy.
The perfomance of the narrator it's perfect.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-02-17

Love This Narrator!

Derek Jacobi is brilliant! His interpretation of Holmes & Watson is spot on. The characters come to life when he reads & you forget that it is just one person reading & not a diverse cast.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jim Jackson
  • 17-06-21

Derek Jacobi is excellent

Derek Jacobi is excellent as the reader. If you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes, this is a must.

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  • W. G.
  • 12-04-21

it was the first and perhaps the best.

I thought I knew Sherlock Holmes a lot better than I really did.
The original meeting of Holmes and Watson was so different from any of the film and TV Holmes and Watson.
Derek Jacobi is as good as it gets as a narrator. His mastery of accents and dialects, especially for this style of story, is unparalleled.
Simply put, it was a complete joy to lie back, close my eyes and join the dynamic duo at 221B while marveling at the brilliance of the world's only consulting detective.

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  • Andrew Hutchinson
  • 07-04-21

A Classic

This book is a great introduction to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. The case is interesting and involves suspense and intrigue. This book has many twists and turns that are unexpected, which is great for a detective book. Overall a great listen, the narrator does a great job as well. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in detective novels or the classics.