Suspense is generated by the very first paragraph of “A Scandal in Bohemia.” Here, Dr. Watson tells us that Sherlock Holmes refers to Irene Adler as “THE woman.” Apparently, Holmes never refers to her in any other way.
Straightaway, we're intrigued and start asking ourselves questions. Why has Irene Adler eclipsed all other women in Holmes’s mind? What is it about her that has allowed her to intrude into what Watson describes as his “delicate, finely adjusted temperament”?
Watson may be at pains to point out that Holmes feels no emotion akin to love for Irene Adler. But it’s perfectly obvious that she’s had a dramatic effect upon him. Just why that is we will discover in due course. But for now, we’re left in suspense.