A Study in Scarlet was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s first full-length detective novel. His short stories had already earned him some success and recognition, but with this effort he hoped to attract the attention of critics as well as the general reading public. Doyle longed to write serious historical fiction, in which he intended to chronicle the deeds of the men and women who made England great, but he believed that he must first establish himself as a respected and popular author. A Study in Scarlet met with several rejections from publishers, however, before Doyle finally managed to sell it in 1886 for the modest sum of twenty-five pounds. When the book appeared the following year as part of Beeton’s Christmas Annual, most of the London critics completely ignored it, but it soon became very popular in the United States. Encouraged by his American publisher to write another full-length Holmes adventure, Doyle revived his detective for The Sign of Four in 1890, which was a success on both sides of the Atlantic. The reception of this novel stimulated renewed interest in A Study in Scarlet, which thereupon appeared in several separate editions and assured the author’s fame and the immortality of the world’s first consulting detective. (Beeton’s Christmas Annual for 1887 has become one of the rarest and most collectible works of modern fiction.)
A Study in Scarlet provides the reader...
(The entire section is 1056 words.)
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