I don’t know how I made it to 34 years of age without reading a Sherlock Holmes book. I started with the first one, A Study In Scarlet. I was not disappointed.
Holmes is a freelance detective who has an insatiable hunger for knowledge across multiple fields of science. This gives him amazingly intuitive powers, such as being able to guess someone’s profession from looking at them. He can also mentally recreate crime scenes. His mind is a synergy of unrelated disciplines that gives him unparalleled power in solving crime.
This book is about one particular case of murder that the local detectives hire Holmes to help solve.
I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skillful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.[…]
“You don’t seem to give much thought to the matter in hand,” I said at last, interrupting Holmes’ musical disquisition.
“No data yet,” he answered. “It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgment.[…]
“It is a mistake to confound strangeness with mystery. The most commonplace crime is often the most mysterious because it presents no new or special features from which deductions may be drawn. This murder would have been infinitely more difficult to unravel had the body of the victim been simply found lying in the roadway without any of those outré and sensational accompaniments which have rendered it remarkable. These strange details, far from making the case more difficult, have really had the effect of making it less so.”[…]
“There is no satisfaction in vengeance unless the offender has time to realize who it is that strikes him, and why retribution has come upon him. I had my plans arranged by which I should have the opportunity of making the man who had wronged me understand that his old sin had found him out.”[…]
“What you do in this world is a matter of no consequence,” returned my companion, bitterly. “The question is, what can you make people believe that you have done.”
The second half of the book, which describes the motive for the crime, was quite a page turner. When I finished it, I went straight to Amazon to purchase the entire Sherlock Holmes collection, and have since gotten to work on them. Recommended.
Read More: “A Study In Scarlet” on Amazon