A Study in Scarlet

  • by Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Narrated by Derek Jacobi
  • 4 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's 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.

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Customer Reviews

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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.
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- Felicia J

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.

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- Lorraine Poirier

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-15-2008
  • Publisher: Audible Studios