Literature Study GuidesA Study In Scarlet

A Study in Scarlet | Study Guide

Arthur Conan Doyle

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Course Hero. "A Study in Scarlet Study Guide." Course Hero. 14 June 2019. Web. 16 July 2019. <>.

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Course Hero. "A Study in Scarlet Study Guide." June 14, 2019. Accessed July 16, 2019.


Course Hero, "A Study in Scarlet Study Guide," June 14, 2019, accessed July 16, 2019,



Arthur Conan Doyle

Year Published






Perspective and Narrator

Part 1 is told from the point of view of Dr. John Watson. As Sherlock Holmes's roommate, Watson serves as a proxy for the reader. He relays Holmes's actions and conversation but is not privy to the inner workings of Holmes's mind. The first five chapters of Part 2 are related by an omniscient third-person narrator before Arthur Conan Doyle reverts to Watson's point of view for the last two chapters.


A Study in Scarlet is written in the past tense.

About the Title

In Part 1, Chapter 4 Holmes talks about "the scarlet thread of murder running through the colorless skein of life." His job is to "unravel it, and isolate it, and expose every inch of it." Thus A Study in Scarlet translates to A Murder Investigation. In that sense each of Holmes's murder cases is a study in scarlet. Doyle initially thought of titling the story A Tangled Skein. He decided instead upon A Study in Scarlet.


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