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The Sign of Four: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery Paperback – Feb 7 2011

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The Sign of Four: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery + The Hound of the Baskervilles + Sherlock: A Study in Scarlet
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 86 pages
  • Publisher: Createspace; Reprint edition (Feb. 7 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451562462
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451562460
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 0.6 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 23 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,692,759 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Perhaps the greatest of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries is this: that when we talk of him we invariably fall into the fancy of his existence -- T. S. Eliot --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

It is in this, the second Holmes novel, that the great detective comes fully to life—not only as a melancholic and an inscrutable master of deduction, but also as an incurable drug addict. "Which is it today?" Watson asks Holmes matter-of-factly on the opening page of the novel, "morphine or cocaine?" "It is cocaine," Holmes famously replies. "A seven-per-cent solution. Would you like to try it?" Mary Morstan comes to Holmes in the hope that he will be able to solve a mystery. Ten years earlier her father, Captain Arthur Morstan, had returned to London on leave from his regiment in India where it is said that he and one Thadeus Sholto, "came into possession of a considerable treasure." By the time his daughter arrived at his hotel, he had vanished without a trace. The Sign of Four remains a small masterpiece of suspense, and the novel has enjoyed a steady readership ever since its first publication in 1890. In recent years, however, it has not been readily available except as a part of larger omnibus Holmes anthologies. This Broadview edition provides a reliable text at a very reasonable price. It contains textual notes but no appendices or introduction. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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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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By Carolyn TOP 1000 REVIEWER on Nov. 17 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"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. I ignored the distasteful opening and closing statements about Sherlock liking cocaine. However I inferred from the title an exciting mystery that would have us deciphering a code, an ancient language, some environment with a great deal more ambiance than what we find. A journey perhaps into the cave of a foreign land; made by the protagonists in their present day.

Like Arthur Conan Doyle's first novel, a culprit divulges in retrospect; a past obviously at a distance from our protagonists. It is only there that treasure-hunting or foreign travel make a detached appearance. The "four" has no exotic meaning. It merely enumerates the original quest-makers. Sherlock, John, and a borrowed dog do nothing more than try to locate a murderer on foot. They derisively presume they'll do better than the London police. Because there is really nothing more to it, nor was there any danger or personal urgency for this pedestrian investigating party; I didn't feel any suspense whatsoever.

That's a pity because the present day tale held promise. A lovely lady hires the roommates to find her Father. I like that Sherlock admires the astuteness of the clues she deems important enough to bring. She has cryptically been receiving an expensive pearl by mail for years. She is certain it is a form of compensation for her Father's part in a treasure; of minor importance against knowing what happened to him. These are the makings of an extraordinary adventure, a ball that was regretfully dropped. It is the earliest portions that are a little bit enchanting. I always manage to admire the originality of the stories and the absolutely impeccable, lyrical writing.
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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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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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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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