I'm late sampling mystery pioneers, thinking old English might be stilted with Shakespeare-like dialogue. Additionally, a 1980s television program portrayed Sherlock Holmes coldly and John Watson as chubby & flustered. General perception should stand corrected that they weren't balding elders like most images show but no more than twenty-five, mistaken as students. John was a soldier, thin from illness and discharged to 9 month of convalescence. Sherlock exuded the warm humour of Hercule Poirot, delighted to meet John at the university and excited about chemistry lab work, to the point of hopping. At my first sample of Arthur Conan Doyle, I'm impressed to numerous degrees.
The mystery portions maintain a keen level of fascination, despite "A Study In Scarlet being written in 1887. Shaking the order of novels, a suspect is suddenly arrested in the middle. My regard lowers on two counts: a room of people treat the death of the landlady's pet nonchalantly. Next, zealots terrorize a family for wanting out of Mormonism but excommunicate themselves, in five years. Their tentative allegiance is mismatched to the cruel hunting of a family who merely sought happiness.
Notably assailing expectations, is a shift from the police case.... to a western saga! Sherlock promises to explain two murders but we turn from London, to a desert in the USA. I admire the imagination of the segue and the depth in weaving it. My critique is inability to focus, until familiar men's names are dropped several pages later. The contrast is so bizarre, I wondered if the detective fable ended and a stray story was mistakenly inserted! I did root for the trapped trio and applaud the London murders. Arthur's writing is beautiful too. I laughed and re-read passages: "that great cesspool into which all the idlers of the Empire are irresistibly drained"!