A Study In Scarlet, Arthur Conan Doyle. 1887.
Did you know there is a verse in Sugarhill Gang’s classic song “Rapper’s Delight” about getting food poisoning?
“Ever went over a friends house to eat
And the food just ain’t no good?
I mean the macaroni’s soggy, the peas are mushed,
And the chicken tastes like wood”
After dancing along with “ho-tel, mo-tel, Holiday Inn” and all the other parts of the song that get sampled or referenced in hundreds of others, it’s almost alarming to come across big chunks of it that are totally unfamiliar. (The song is 15 minutes long. 15 minutes!)
That’s what it was like for me to read “A Study In Scarlet.” I’ve watched and read countless stories that included or referenced famous bits (a corpse in an empty room, poison, and revenge), but reading it I suddenly found myself in an unexpected place, in the middle of a tragic romance in Salt Lake City among the early Mormon settlers.
Aside from that cultural whiplash, it is tremendous fun and I can see why people still read it.
Gene: I find these stories largely unreadable, though I’ve bought complete collections of Sherlock Holmes stories several times (and then eventually passed them along as gifts). But graphic novels to the rescue! I loved this adaptation.