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A Study in Scarlet MP3 CD – Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged

4.3 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • MP3 CD
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio; MP3 - Unabridged CD edition (Aug. 1 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400150833
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400150830
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.5 x 18.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 104 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews
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Product Description

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

CHAPTER I

Mr. Sherlock Holmes


In the year 1878 I took my degree of Doctor of Medicine of the University of London, and proceeded to Netley to go through the course prescribed for surgeons in the army. Having completed my studies there, I was duly attached to the Fifth Northumberland Fusiliers as Assistant Surgeon. The regiment was stationed in India at the time, and before I could join it, the second Afghan war had broken out. On landing at Bombay, I learned that my corps had advanced through the passes, and was already deep in the enemy’s country. I followed, however, with many other officers who were in the same situation as myself, and succeeded in reaching Candahar in safety, where I found my regiment, and at once entered upon my new duties.

The campaign brought honours and promotion to many, but for me it had nothing but misfortune and disaster. I was removed from my brigade and attached to the Berkshires,with whom I served at the fatal battle of Maiwand. There I was struck on the shoulder by a Jezail bullet, which shattered the bone and grazed the subclavian artery. I should have fallen into the hands of the murderous Ghazis had it not been for the devotion and courage shown by Murray, my orderly, who threw me across a pack-horse, and succeeded in bringing me safely to the British lines.

Worn with pain, and weak from the prolonged hardships which I had undergone, I was removed, with a great train of wounded sufferers, to the base hospital at Peshawur. Here I rallied, and had already improved so far as to be able to walk about the wards, and even to bask a little upon the verandah, when I was struck down by enteric fever, that curse of our Indian possessions. For months my life was despaired of, and when at last I came to myself and became convalescent, I was so weak and emaciated that a medical board determined that not a day should be lost in sending me back to England. I was despatched, accordingly, in the troopship Orontes, and landed a month later on Portsmouth jetty, with my health irretrievably ruined, but with permission from a paternal government to spend the next nine months in attempting to improve it.

I had neither kith nor kin in England, and was therefore as free as air—or as free as an income of eleven shillings and sixpence a day will permit a man to be. Under such circumstances I naturally gravitated to London, that great cesspool into which all the loungers and idlers of the Empire are irresistibly drained. There I stayed for some time at a private hotel in the Strand, leading a comfortless, meaningless existence, and spending such money as I had, considerably more freely than I ought. So alarming did the state of my finances become, that I soon realized that I must either leave the metropolis and rusticate somewhere in the country, or that I must make a complete alteration in my style of living. Choosing the latter alternative, I began by making up my mind to leave the hotel, and to take up my quarters in some less pretentious and less expensive domicile.

On the very day that I had come to this conclusion, I was standing at the Criterion Bar, when some one tapped me on the shoulder, and turning round I recognized young Stamford, who had been a dresser under me at Barts. The sight of a friendly face in the great wilderness of London is a pleasant thing indeed to a lonely man. In old days Stamford had never been a particular crony of mine, but now I hailed him with enthusiasm, and he, in his turn, appeared to be delighted to see me. In the exuberance of my joy, I asked him to lunch with me at the Holborn, and we started off together in a hansom.

“Whatever have you been doing with yourself, Watson?” he asked in undisguised wonder, as we rattled through the crowded London streets. “You are as thin as a lath and as brown as a nut.”

I gave him a short sketch of my adventures, and had hardly concluded it by the time that we reached our destination.

“Poor devil!” he said, commiseratingly, after he had listened to my misfortunes. “What are you up to now?”

“Looking for lodgings,” I answered. “Trying to solve the problem as to whether it is possible to get comfortable rooms at a reasonable price.”

“That’s a strange thing,” remarked my companion, “you are the second man to-day that has used that expression to me.”

“And who was the first?” I asked.

“A fellow who is working at the chemical laboratory up at the hospital. He was bemoaning himself this morning because he could not get some one to go halves with him in some nice rooms which he had found, and which were too much for his purse.”

“By Jove!” I cried; “if he really wants some one to share the rooms and the expense, I am the very man for him. I should prefer having a partner to being alone.”

Young Stamford looked rather strangely at me over his wine glass. “You don’t know Sherlock Holmes yet,” he said; “perhaps you would not care for him as a constant companion.”

“Why, what is there against him?”

“Oh, I didn’t say there was anything against him. He is a little queer in his ideas—an enthusiast in some branches of science. As far as I know he is a decent fellow enough.”

“A medical student, I suppose?” said I.

“No—I have no idea what he intends to go in for. I believe he is well up in anatomy, and he is a first-class chemist; but, as far as I know, he has never taken out any systematic medical classes. His studies are very desultory and eccentric, but he has amassed a lot of out-of-the-way knowledge which would astonish his professors.”

“Did you never ask him what he was going in for?” I asked.

“No; he is not a man that it is easy to draw out, though he can be communicative enough when the fancy seizes him.”

“I should like to meet him,” I said. “If I am to lodge with any one, I should prefer a man of studious and quiet habits. I am not strong enough yet to stand much noise or excitement. I had enough of both in Afghanistan to last me for the remainder of my natural existence. How could I meet this friend of yours?”

“He is sure to be at the laboratory,” returned my companion. “He either avoids the place for weeks, or else he works there from morning till night. If you like, we will drive round together after luncheon.”

“Certainly,” I answered, and the conversation drifted away into other channels.

As we made our way to the hospital after leaving the Holborn, Stamford gave me a few more particulars about the gentleman whom I proposed to take as a fellow-lodger.

“You mustn’t blame me if you don’t get on with him,” he said; “I know nothing more of him than I have learned from meeting him occasionally in the laboratory. You proposed this arrangement, so you must not hold me responsible.”

“If we don’t get on it will be easy to part company,” I answered. “It seems to me, Stamford,” I added, looking hard at my companion, “that you have some reason for washing your hands of the matter. Is this fellow’s temper so formidable, or what is it? Don’t be mealy-mouthed about it.”

“It is not easy to express the inexpressible,” he answered with a laugh. “Holmes is a little too scientific for my tastes—it approaches to cold-bloodedness. I could imagine his giving a friend a little pinch of the latest vegetable alkaloid,15 not out of malevolence, you understand, but simply out of a spirit of inquiry in order to have an accurate idea of the effects. To do him justice, I think that he would take it himself with the same readiness. He appears to have a passion for definite and exact knowledge.”

“Very right too.”

“Yes, but it may be pushed to excess. When it comes to beating the subjects in the dissecting-rooms with a stick, it is certainly taking rather a bizarre shape.”

“Beating the subjects!”

“Yes, to verify how far bruises may be produced after death. I saw him at it with my own eyes.”

“And yet you say he is not a medical student?”

“No. Heaven knows what the objects of his studies are. But here we are, and you must form your own impressions about him.” As he spoke, we turned down a narrow lane and passed through a small side-door, which opened into a wing of the great hospital. It was familiar ground to me, and I needed no guiding as we ascended the bleak stone staircase and made our way down the long corridor with its vista of whitewashed wall and dun-coloured doors. Near the farther end a low arched passage branched away from it and led to the chemical laboratory.

This was a lofty chamber, lined and littered with countless bottles. Broad, low tables were scattered about, which bristled with retorts, test-tubes, and little Bunsen lamps, with their blue flickering flames. There was only one student in the room, who was bending over a distant table absorbed in his work. At the sound of our steps he glanced round and sprang to his feet with a cry of pleasure. “I’ve found it! I’ve found it,” he shouted to my companion, running towards us with a test-tube in his hand. “I have found a re-agent which is precipitated by hœmoglobin, and by nothing else.” Had he discovered a gold mine, greater delight could not have shone upon his features.

“Dr. Watson, Mr. Sherlock Holmes,” said Stamford, introducing us.

“How are you?” he said cordially, gripping my hand with a strength for which I should hardly have given him credit. “You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive.”

“How on earth did you know that?” I asked in astonishment.

“Never mind,” said he, chuckling to himself. “The question now is about hœmoglobin. No doubt you see the significance of this discovery of mine?”

“It is interesting, chemically, no doubt,” I answered, “but practically——”

“Why, man, it is the most practical medico-legal discovery for years. Don’t you see that it gives us an infallible test for blood stains. Come over here now!” He seized me by the coat-sleeve in his eagerness, and drew me over to the table at which he had been working. “Let us have some fresh blood,” he said, digging a long bodkin into his finger, and drawing off the resulting drop of blood in a chemical pipette. “Now, I add this small quantity of blood to a litre of water. You perceive that the resulting mixture has the appearance of pure water. The proportion of blood cannot be more than one in a million. I have no doubt, however, that we shall be able to obtain the characteristic reaction.” As he spoke, he threw into the vessel a few white crystals, and then added some drops of a transparent fluid. In an instant the contents assumed a dull mahogany colour, and a brownish dust was precipitated to the bottom of the glass jar.

“Ha! ha!” he cried, clapping his hands, and looking as delighted as a child with a new toy. “What do you think of that?”

“It seems to be a very delicate test,” I remarked.

“Beautiful! beautiful! The old guaiacum test was very clumsy and uncertain. So is the microscopic examination for blood corpuscles. The latter is valueless if the stains are a few hours old. Now, this appears to act as well whether the blood is old or new. Had this test been invented, there are hundreds of men now walking the earth who would long ago have paid the penalty of their crimes.”

“Indeed!” I murmured.

“Criminal cases are continually hinging upon that one point. A man is suspected of a crime months perhaps after it has been committed. His linen or clothes are examined and brownish stains discovered upon them. Are they blood stains, or mud stains, or rust stains, or fruit stains, or what are they? That is a question which has puzzled many an expert, and why? Because there was no reliable test. Now we have the Sherlock Holmes test, and there will no longer be any difficulty.”

His eyes fairly glittered as he spoke, and he put his hand over his heart and bowed as if to some applauding crowd conjured up by his imagination.

“You are to be congratulated,” I remarked, considerably surprised at his enthusiasm.

“There was the case of Von Bischoff at Frankfort last year. He would certainly have been hung had this test been in existence. Then there was Mason of Bradford, and the notorious Muller, and Lefevre of Montpellier, and Samson of New Orleans. I could name a score of cases in which it would have been decisive.”

“You seem to be a walking calendar of crime,” said Stamford with a laugh. “You might start a paper on those lines. Call it the ‘Police News of the Past.’ ”

“Very interesting reading it might be made, too,” remarked Sherlock Holmes, sticking a small piece of plaster over the prick on his finger. “I have to be careful,” he continued, turning to me with a smile, “for I dabble with poisons a good deal.” He held out his hand as he spoke, and I noticed that it was all mottled over with similar pieces of plaster, and discoloured with strong acids.

“We came here on business,” said Stamford, sitting down on a high three-legged stool, and pushing another one in my direction with his foot. “My friend here wants to take diggings; and as you were complaining that you could get no one to go halves with you, I thought that I had better bring you together.”

Sherlock Holmes seemed delighted at the idea of sharing his rooms with me. “I have my eye on a suite in Baker Street,” he said, “which would suit us down to the ground. You don’t mind the smell of strong tobacco, I hope?”

“I always smoke ‘ship’s’ myself,” I answered.

“That’s good enough. I generally have chemicals about, and occasionally do experiments. Would that annoy you?”

“By no means.”

“Let me see—what are my other shortcomings. I get in the dumps at times, and don’t open my mouth for days on end. You must not think I am sulky when I do that. Just let me alone, and I’ll soon be right. What have you to confess now? It’s just as well for two fellows to know the worst of one another before they begin to live together.”

I laughed at this cross-examination. “I keep a bull pup,” I said, “and I object to row because my nerves are shaken, and I get up at all sorts of ungodly hours, and I am extremely lazy. I have another set of vices when I’m well, but those are the principal ones at present.”

“Do you include violin playing in your category of rows?” he asked, anxiously.

“It depends on the player,” I answered. “A well-played violin is a treat for the gods—a badly-played one——”

“Oh, that’s all right,” he cried, with a merry laugh. “I think we may consider the thing as settled—that is, if the rooms are agreeable to you.”

“When shall we see them?”

“Call for me here at noon to-morrow, and we’ll go together and settle everything,” he answered.

“All right—noon exactly,” said I, shaking his hand.

We left him working among his chemicals, and we walked together towards my hotel.

“By the way,” I asked suddenly, stopping and turning upon Stamford, “how the deuce did he know that I had come from Afghanistan?”

My companion smiled an enigmatical smile. “That’s just his little peculiarity,” he said. “A good many people have wanted to know how he finds things out.”

“Oh! a mystery is it?” I cried, rubbing my hands. “This is very piquant. I am much obliged to you for bringing us together. ‘The proper study of mankind is man,’ you know.”

“You must study him, then,” Stamford said, as he bade me good-bye. “You’ll find him a knotty problem, though. I’ll wager he learns more about you than you about him. Good-bye.”

“Good-bye,” I answered, and strolled on to my hotel, considerably interested in my new acquaintance. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Amazon

Arthur Conan Doyle's Study in Scarlet is the first published story involving the legendary Sherlock Holmes, arguably the world's best-known detective, and the first narrative by Holmes's Boswell, the unassuming Dr. Watson, a military surgeon lately returned from the Afghan War. Watson needs a flat-mate and a diversion. Holmes needs a foil. And thus a great literary collaboration begins.

Watson and Holmes move to a now-famous address, 221B Baker Street, where Watson is introduced to Holmes's eccentricities as well as his uncanny ability to deduce information about his fellow beings. Somewhat shaken by Holmes's egotism, Watson is nonetheless dazzled by his seemingly magical ability to provide detailed information about a man glimpsed once under the streetlamp across the road.

Then murder. Facing a deserted house, a twisted corpse with no wounds, a mysterious phrase drawn in blood on the wall, and the buffoons of Scotland Yard--Lestrade and Gregson--Holmes measures, observes, picks up a pinch of this and a pinch of that, and generally baffles his faithful Watson. Later, Holmes explains: "In solving a problem of this sort, the grand thing is to be able to reason backward.... There are few people who, if you told them a result, would be able to evolve from their own inner consciousness what the steps were which led up to that result." Holmes is in that elite group.

Conan Doyle quickly learned that it was Holmes's deductions that were of most interest to his readers. The lengthy flashback, while a convention of popular fiction, simply distracted from readers' real focus. It is when Holmes and Watson gather before the coal fire and Holmes sums up the deductions that led him to the successful apprehension of the criminal that we are most captivated. Subsequent Holmes stories--The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Return of Sherlock Holmes, and The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes--rightly plunge the twosome directly into the middle of a baffling crime, piling mystery upon mystery until Holmes's denouement once more leaves the dazzled Watson murmuring, "You are wonderful, Holmes!" Generations of readers agree. --Barbara Schlieper --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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I've already read the Sherlock Holmes stories, but after watching Sherlock on BBC with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.
The intro by one of the writers, adds a new spark to these wonderful mystery stories.
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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"!
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The book tells the story of how Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson came to be partners and details their first murder case. Like every other conscious person in the western world, I have always been aware of Holmes' titanic status in our popular culture, but this is actually the first story about him that I've ever read. It's very entertaining to follow as A. Conan Doyle introduces the various facets of the Holmes legend: we meet Gregson and Lestrade, watch Holmes and Watson take up lodgings at 221B Baker Street, and are introduced to Holmes' violin playing, pipe smoking, snuff addiction, and, of course, his incredible powers of deduction, which are a marvel to all that surround him. Watson's musings on Holmes' nature are often quite humorous as he attempts to figure out this eccentric individual.
The mystery itself is quite good. Many have remarked on how the story derails with its lengthy digression to the back-story of the murder, which occurred in Utah. This part of the story is sure to offend Mormons, who are here portrayed as a cultish fascist state that will resort to officially sanctioned murder to accomplish its ends. Doyle appears to have been reflecting the prejudice of his time, and this is a very unfortunate and disappointing aspect of the novel. However, if you can look past that, perhaps by imagining that they are some fictional cult, this section of the book is quite effective and suspenseful in its own way. However, the major strength of the story is, of course, Holmes himself. I think that Doyle quickly realized this and focused on Holmes much more closely in later stories.
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This is the first Sherlock Holmes novel and the perfect place to begin reading his literature. Forget about the movie clichés of Holmes and Watson - here you meet them for the first time. Watson - far from a bumbling fool - is a military doctor just returned from Afghanistan. An old acquaintance reluctantly suggests looking for a room with a school chum of his who is a bit odd. We first meet Sherlock Holmes as a graduate student. He's very brilliant - the only thing is nobody can figure out what he is studying or what he does. The two chums become roommates and the rest is history.
Seeing Sherlock Holmes anew, he is reminiscent of a positive version of Hannibal Lecter. Both of them are able to detect anything about a person at a glance - or a whiff. Each have encyclopedic knowledge of medicine, psychology, and everything else you can think of, and both are intellectually vain. Sherlock likes to show off and is downright childish in taking pleasure in how clever he is.
The book starts off great - introducing the characters and getting right to the heart of the matter. It continues at a nice place until the half-way mark where Conan Doyle (who had not yet mastered the art of the novel) interrupts the dramatic action for a flashback. That aside, it is still a great read and you can probably get done with it in one sitting. I HIGHLY recommend the Vintage Classics edition with an introduction by Ann Perry and footnotes, the latter proved an invaluable addition.
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Format: Audio CD
It is 1878 and Doctor John Watson, his health damaged by his experiences with the British Army in Afghanistan during the Second Anglo-Afghan War, is looking for lodgings in the great city of London. It seems fortuitous, when a mutual friend introduces him to another who needs someone to share costs on a suite on Baker Street, but this other man is quite an eccentric. Sherlock Holmes has bent his life and education towards turning himself into the premier detective.
Watson can hardly credit Holmes's claims of what a first-class detective can do. But, when a note arrives from a Scotland Yard detective, inviting Holmes to consult on a particularly mysterious murder, Watson soon finds himself carried along by Holmes, watching his new friend's powers unravel a seemingly inscrutable knot. The game is afoot, and Holmes needs to solve a murder, and bring a murderer to justice.
This fascinating book was first published in 1887, and was the very first Sherlock Holmes story. In it we get to see the first meeting of Holmes and Watson, and hear Holmes explain his methods in detail. If you are a fan of murder mysteries, then this is definitely a book that you should not miss.
The center part of this story revolves around the actions of the Mormon Church in Salt Lake City, Utah. Author Arthur Conan Doyle had a tendency to "wing" the details of his story, and his treatment of the Mormons shows a certain carelessness in how he presented them. Therefore, if you are a Mormon, you will most likely find this book offensive.
But, that said, this is a wonderfully entertaining story that is sure to please most every mystery fan. And, if you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes, then you must read this book! It's great.
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