The Sign of Four: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery Paperback – Feb 7 2011
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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
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. See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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!
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.Read more ›
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.
Most recent customer reviews
I've already read the Sherlock Holmes stories, but after watching Sherlock on BBC with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. Read morePublished on Dec 11 2013 by Scarlett
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
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 morePublished on Jan. 11 2004 by Roger Long
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 morePublished on April 5 2003 by Khalifa Alhazaa
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. Read morePublished on April 29 2002 by Peter Tevis
A fabulous treasure dogged by murder. A trans-racial oath of loyalty. A greedy major, a cannibal pigmy, and a peg-legged convict. Read morePublished on May 20 2001 by George R Dekle