A Study in Scarlet
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Author: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
A Study in Scarlet is a detective mystery novel written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, which was first published in 1887. It is the first story to feature the character of Sherlock Holmes, who would later become one of the most famous and iconic literary detective characters, with long-lasting interest and appeal. The book's title derives from a speech given by Holmes to his companion Doctor Watson on the nature of his work, in which he describes the story's murder investigation as his "study in scarlet": "There’s the scarlet thread of murder running through the colourless skein of life, and our duty is to unravel it, and isolate it, and expose every inch of it."
The novel is split into two halves. The first is titled Being a Reprint from the Reminiscences of John Watson, M.D., Late of the Army Medical Department. This part is told in first person by Holmes' friend Doctor John H. Watson and describes his introduction in 1881 to Sherlock Holmes through a mutual friend. They agree to share a flat and move in to 221B Baker Street.
One day a retired Sergeant of Marines comes to deliver to Holmes a message from Inspector Tobias Gregson. Holmes and Watson leave at once to travel to an empty house in Brixton. There he finds Inspector Gregson with his partner Inspector Lestrade. They lead Holmes and Watson upstairs and into a room. In that room they find the corpse of Enoch Drebber. Above Drebber’s body Holmes finds the word "RACHE" written in blood. Holmes thinks that it must have been the assassin's blood for there were traces of it all over the place. Lestrade suggests that he was writing the female name "Rachel" but was interrupted before he could complete it. They also find a wedding ring near the body which confirms Lestrade's theory. Holmes takes the ring into his own possession for the time, and then gets the address of the Constable who found the body, John Rance (he found it when he saw a candle glowing in the empty house).