Boozy Books: A Study in Scarlet

Good evening, Boozy Books fans! It’s time once again to get out the reading material and  liquor, and savor some literature with a splash of appropriately paired alcohol. Let’s begin!

Some of you literary nerds have no doubt deduced that we have at long last arrived at one of literatures greatest detectives: Sherlock Holmes. A fascinating man of great perceptive awareness, brains, and humor as written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1886. A Study in Scarlet was the first of four full-length novels Doyle wrote for the great “consulting detective”, though the complete canon also includes 56 short stories. Let’s focus on Scarlet, however, being that it is the first introduction of Holmes, Watson, and their inevitably dark adventures. The game’s afoot!

A Study in Scarlet begins by establishing Dr. Watson as the narrator and scribe to Holmes’s exploits. We come to learn that Watson met Holmes because a mutual friend knew that they were both looking for a place to live. (The set-up is very much the same as that of “A Study in Pink”–the first episode of BBC’s Sherlock). We learn that Watson has returned from war and Sherlock has an odd way of knowing things without being told. Watson later learns of Sherlock’s deduction technique and accompanies him on the murder case that makes up the central plot of this story. A murder which somehow involves Mormons… I won’t give it away, of course, but you can probably guess that Holmes solves the crime in the end.

It’s almost impossible in today’s culture not to have been exposed to, or have some knowledge of Sherlock Holmes. Whether you’ve enjoyed Cumberbatch’s high functioning sociopath, RDJ’s tongue-in-cheek romp, Basil of Baker Street’s turn as mouse-Sherlock, or the absurd use of both Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes in Shanghai Knights, you probably have a good grasp on who the character is meant to be. And despite all the incarnations of Holmes that exist for your entertainment, the original is still SO GOOD. It’s the true iteration of a character we all think we know and it’s absolutely worth visiting.

As for the pairing, I’m going to recommend a nice Brandy. Something for smelling and sipping as you ponder over the solution to the murder mystery at hand. Another option, of course, is a pot of English tea (with a healthy dose of Brandy). And for those of you who really want to emulate the great detective… Opium. (Not really. That was a joke. Please don’t do opium.)


Hopefully this little post has successfully whetted your appetite and gets you started on the complete collection of the Holmes stories. Many are very fast reads and you won’t regret it.

Happy reading!


To buy the book:

To buy the booze:

(Or…if you’re not rich…)

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