A Study in Scarlet Characters
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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A Study in Scarlet Characters

Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes is an eccentric “consulting detective” who is, at this point, not making very much of a living on his would-be trade. He spends some of his time at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London running strange tests, such as trying to ascertain the effects of various treatments upon corpses. Holmes occasionally assists the detectives at Scotland Yard in solving difficult cases and is asked to help solve the mystery of Drebber’s death.

Dr. John Watson

When the story begins, Watson has just returned from Afghanistan, where he had been an army surgeon. He tells a former friend from his medical training days that he is looking for a flatmate, and this friend introduces him to Holmes. Watson agrees to take rooms with Holmes at Baker Street and is soon intrigued and amazed by his skills of deduction as Holmes solves the mystery of Drebber and Stangerson’s murders.

Inspectors Gregson and Lestrade

Gregson and Lestrade are both detectives at Scotland Yard. Gregson writes Holmes a letter asking for his help in solving the Drebber murder. Lestrade, who is working with Gregson to solve the case, appears in many of the Sherlock Holmes stories and is always painted as a step behind Holmes. Lestrade does not believe that Holmes, an amateur, should have the access to cases he is allowed; at the same time, he soon becomes aware of how helpful Holmes can be to Scotland Yard.

Enoch Drebber

Drebber is the initial murder victim, found dead in Lauriston Gardens. He was an American and a Mormon who married Lucy Ferrier against her will. Jefferson Hope, Lucy’s sweetheart and fiancé, murders him in revenge. 

Joseph Stangerson

Stangerson was Drebber’s secretary and is the second murder victim, killed by Hope in revenge. Like Drebber, he was also an American and Mormon, and he was competing against Drebber to marry Lucy. Stangerson murdered Lucy’s father and was with the party who kidnapped Lucy. 

Jefferson Hope

Hope is revealed to be the murderer of Drebber and Stangerson. He is also an American, but he is not a Mormon—which is why he was not allowed to marry Lucy, his sweetheart. Hope vows to avenge Lucy when she is forced into a marriage with Drebber by the Mormon authorities. Hope suffers from a weak heart, and at the end of the story, he dies of an aneurysm after his confession—without being punished or apparently feeling any remorse.

Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes, a famous detective known for his powers of observation and ability to draw logical conclusions.

Dr. John Watson

Dr. John Watson, Holmes’s friend and assistant. He has just returned from the Afghan wars and is a pensioned army doctor newly introduced to Holmes.

Stamford

Stamford, an old friend of Watson who brings Watson and Holmes together...

(The entire section is 726 words.)