A Study in Scarlet
On December 1, 1887, the young Arthur Conan Doyle published his first Sherlock Holmes mystery, the novel-length A Study in Scarlet. You can download an epub or mobi copy here. Or, if you simply want to read the synopsis, link to this Wikipedia article.
If you haven’t read the original story, you still may have seen a version of A Study in Scarlet somewhere. The backstory plot that takes place in America rings a bell to me. But I can’t remember where I saw it.
Arthur Conan Doyle went on to write over fifty Sherlock Holmes stories. Isn’t it amazing how his fictional characters, Holmes and Watson, live on?
Though the setting for the Sherlock Homes stories is historical to us, these were contemporary mysteries when first published. Then, as now, mysteries are very popular, challenging readers to solve puzzles and giving them satisfactory sum-it-all-up endings.
I’ve been dipping into reading some historical mysteries. To my mind, the best are those that combine a bit of romance with the mystery. The Captain Lacey Regency Mystery series, by Ashley Gardner (aka Jennifer Ashley) is one of my favorites. Number 14, Death at Brighton Pavilion, is available for pre-order now. But if you’re a series reader, start with Book 1. You can find the first several novels in boxed sets on Amazon.
Early Georgian? Regency? Victorian? Contemporary?
I’ve just finished Lucinda Brant’s 1767-set mystery, Deadly Engagement, the first in her Alec Halsey mystery series. Fifty years before the Regency, the wigs, panniers, and sedan chairs set this era apart. I really enjoyed the story!
Another recent read was Victorian-set. That era doesn’t appeal to me as much. Probably because most authors I’ve read from this era tend to emphasize starchy fashions, industrial drabness, and oppressive morality.
As for contemporary mysteries, many years ago, I put them aside. I found that the police procedurals, whether set in the U.S. or the U.K., were just too cynical, dark and depressing. The cozies were too cozy. I like a story somewhere in the middle, with a little romance thrown in. My friend author Anne Cleeland’s Acton and Doyle mysteries fit the bill, plus she adds a little bit of magic with her fey heroine, and I love magic in a story!
What’s your Favorite?
How about you? In terms of mysteries, what era is your favorite? Do you have any good recommendations? Please share in the comments!
Image credit: Wikipedia