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The Sign of Four: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery [Paperback]

Arthur Conan Doyle
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 6.57 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Book Description

Feb. 7 2011
A new edition of "The Sign of Four," Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's second full-length novel featuring Sherlock Holmes. This book is controversial for Holmes' use of cocaine.

Frequently Bought Together

The Sign of Four: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery + Study In Scarlet, A + Valley Of Fear, The
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Review

"In this erudite and provocative edition, Shafquat Towheed offers fans of both Sherlock Holmes and Arthur Conan Doyle an intricate account of the intertextual histories at the heart of The Sign of Four. Arguing for the inextricability of its colonial plots with its work as detective fiction, Towheed builds a persuasive case for The Sign of Four as Mutiny fiction, positioning it as pivotal to the imperial career of 'British' fiction per se. Readers of this edition will be gripped by the colonial pathways Towheed reveals, the politics of citation he uncovers, and the entanglement of home and empire he tracks in the making of the novel. This is postcolonial interpretation at its very best." (Antoinette Burton) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

Arthur Conan Doyle's second Sherlock Holmes novel is both a detective story and an imperial romance. Ostensibly the story of Mary Morstan, a beautiful young woman enlisting the help of Holmes to find her vanished father and solve the mystery of her receipt of a perfect pearl on the same date each year, it gradually uncovers a tale of treachery and human greed. The action audaciously ranges from penal settlements on the Andaman Islands to the suburban comfort of South London, and from the opium-fuelled violence of Agra Fort during the Indian 'Mutiny' to the cocaine-induced contemplation of Holmes' own Baker Street. This Broadview Edition places Doyle's tale in the cultural, political, and social contexts of late nineteenth-century colonialism and imperialism. The appendices provide a wealth of relevant extracts from hard-to-find sources, including official reports, memoirs, newspaper editorials, and anthropological studies. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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First Sentence
Sherlock Holmes took his bottle from the corner of the mantelpiece, and his hypodermic syringe from its neat morocco case. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely gripping! May 14 2004
Format:Audio Cassette
In this, the second Sherlock Holmes story written by Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes is called upon by a young lady who needs the great detective's help with a mystery. However, when this mystery leads to murder, Holmes must seek to uncover secrets that have lain hidden for many years, and have their roots in treacheries upon treacheries in far-off India. There's a one-legged man who is at the center of this mystery, and he has a murderous friend who may just be the end of Sherlock Holmes!
As I said, this is the second ever Sherlock Holmes story, written in 1890. As with the very best of the Holmes story, this one is absolutely gripping, carrying a fascinating story with mysteries wrapped up in mysteries that only Mr. Holmes can possibly conquer. As an added bonus, in this story, we get to learn about Dr. Watson's meeting of his true love, and his eventual marriage - which should end some rumors that people spread.
Yep, this is a great story, one that is sure to please any fan of mysteries, and is certain to delight any Sherlock Holmes fan!
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4.0 out of 5 stars The science of deduction embodied in one man. Aug. 5 2003
Format:Paperback
Published in 1890, "The Sign of Four" was Doyle's second work, featuring the legendary detective Sherlock Holmes. The first chapter is appropriately titled "The Science of Deduction", and serves as a wonderful introduction to the enigmatic man and his methods. Holmes asserts that there are "three qualities necessary for the ideal detective", namely knowledge, the power of observation, and the power of deduction. Holmes' abilities at observation are superb, as evidenced by some of the books he's produced on obscure topics like the tracing of footsteps, the influence of a trade on the form of a hand, or the enumeration of 140 forms of cigar, cigarette and pipe tobacco ash. He is careful to distinguish mere observation from clear deductive reasoning, and it is the latter which really is the essence of Holmes. To him the only thing that is important is "the curious analytical reasoning from effects to causes" by which he unravels a case. Already in the opening, he demonstrates his powers of deduction by coming to stunning and perfectly logical conclusions about Watson's brother, merely by seeing his watch. What is obscure to everyone, is of course perfectly obvious to Holmes: "so absurdly simple that an explanation is superfluous." He is the epitomy of deduction and cold hard reason.
While Holmes is the embodiment of reason, Watson is the embodiment of emotion. Holmes is naturally critical of the emotional and romantic streak in Watson. "Detection is, or ought to be, an exact science and should be treated in the same cold and unemotional manner." When Watson comments on the attractiveness of Holmes' client, he replies "Is she? I did not observe." Completely deprived of emotion, he looks not at beauty, but at cold hard facts.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Murder, Mystery and Treasure! May 1 2002
Format:Paperback
A classic Holmes novel, this book is perhaps one of Sherlock's most puzzling mysteries. As told by Dr. Watson, this mystery may have been one of Holmes's toughest cases yet.
As Sherlock is injecting cocaine into his blood system, he sits down with placid relief, until there is a knock at the door. In enters the beautiful Mary Morstan, whom Watson immediately takes a fancy to. While Watson observes her beauty, Holmes observes her problem. It seems that she is a rather middle-class woman, with style and father in the military, who is currently stationed in India. He had recently wrote to her saying that he would come to visit. However, he never showed up when she went to pick him up. That was ten years ago. But starting six years ago, four years after his disappearance, Miss Morstan had been receiving mysterious packages containing pearls of great value, one a year. Having been contacted by her mysterious complimentor, should she go and meet him? Or should she stay home? The truth lies with in the book.
This book is a triumph for the celebrated novelist Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and I believe that many people would enjoy this book. Just to be specific, it would mainly be for people who are in the age group of around: 13 or older, and also those who are fond of the mystery novels and thrillers and anyone who could use a good book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Murder, Mystery and Treasure! April 29 2002
Format:Paperback
A classic Holmes novel, this book is perhaps one of Sherlock's most puzzling mysteries. As told by Dr. Watson, this mystery may have been one of Holmes's toughest cases yet.
As Sherlock is injecting cocaine into his blood system, he sits down with placid relief, until there is a knock at the door. In enters the beautiful Mary Morstan, whom Watson immediately takes a fancy to. While Watson observes her beauty, Holmes observes her problem. It seems that she is a rather middle-class woman, with style and father in the military, who is currently stationed in India. He had recently wrote to her saying that he would come to visit. However, he never showed up when she went to pick him up. That was ten years ago. But starting six years ago, four years after his disappearance, Miss Morstan had been receiving mysterious packages containing pearls of great value, one a year. Having been contacted by her mysterious complimentor, should she go and meet him? Or should she stay home? The truth lies with in the book.

This book is a triumph for the celebrated novelist Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and I believe that many people would enjoy this book. Just to be specific, it would mainly be for people who are in the age group of around: 13 or older, and also those who are fond of the mystery novels and thrillers and anyone who could use a good book.
Was this review helpful to you?
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Bought for Intro
I've already read the Sherlock Holmes stories, but after watching Sherlock on BBC with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Scarlett
3.0 out of 5 stars Sounds like it would be enchanting.
"The Sign Of Four", 1890, isn't what I imagined; with no lack of delight in an extraordinary change of pace similar to "A Study In Scarlet. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Carolyn
4.0 out of 5 stars story on a page: The Sign of the Four review
review of: audio book read by John Telfer

I'm glad that Mr. Doyle has understood that audiences did not much enjoy the 5 chapters of criminal exposition (from the first... Read more
Published on Jan. 30 2010 by ninefly
4.0 out of 5 stars Tapers off at the end
The first two-thirds of this short novel are ripe with the foggy atmosphere of Victorian London, as Holmes and Watson seek to help the pretty young client secure her legacy, a... Read more
Published on Jan. 11 2004 by Roger Long
5.0 out of 5 stars The second sherlock holmes's novel
In this second novel of Sherlock Holmes's Dr John Watson continues introducing the world to the singular methods of his strange friend, Mr. Sherlock Holmes. Read more
Published on April 5 2003 by Khalifa Alhazaa
5.0 out of 5 stars Loyalty, Betrayal, Revenge, and Romance
A fabulous treasure dogged by murder. A trans-racial oath of loyalty. A greedy major, a cannibal pigmy, and a peg-legged convict. Read more
Published on May 20 2001 by George R Dekle
5.0 out of 5 stars What an awsome story of suspense and mystery
This is a story of a mystery which seemed impossible to solve. I really enjoyed the language and vocabulary. I enjoyed this book from the first chapter to the last. Read more
Published on Nov. 11 1998
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