Construction Literary Magazine

Fall 2020

From A Study in Scarlet

From <i>A Study in Scarlet</i>

Photograph via Flickr by shutterhacks

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet

“In the central portion of the great North American Continent there lies an arid and repulsive desert, which for many a long year served as a barrier against the advance of civilization. From the Sierra Nevada to Nebraska, and from the Yellow-stone River in the north to the Colorado upon the south, is a region of desolation and silence. Nor is Nature always in one mood throughout this grim district. It comprises snow-capped and lofty mountains, and dark and gloomy valleys. There are swift-flowing rivers which dash through jagged canons; and there are enormous plains, which in winter are white with snow, and in summer are grey with the saline alkali dust. They all preserve, however, the common characteristics of barrenness, inhospitality, and misery.”

There you are in London, following the master of deduction, Sherlock Holmes, and then all of sudden, like a great magic trick, you’re plopped—with gorgeous, vivid description—in the American West—how did he do it?