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The Sign Of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle

The Sign Of Four (original 1890; edition 2011)

by Arthur Conan Doyle

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2,812862,071 (3.78)214
Title:The Sign Of Four
Authors:Arthur Conan Doyle
Info:Viking UK (2011), Paperback, 144 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:British Literture, Sherlock Holmes, detective, classic

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The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle (1890)


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3.5 Stars ( )
  Andrew-theQM | Jun 20, 2016 |
I inherited a set of Holmes a few years back but hesitated to read them for fear they'd be difficult due to old-fashioned language & style, and due to references to unfamiliar history and culture. Well, they were amazingly accessible and interesting. Highly recommended.

But don't start with this one (or with Hound of the Baskervilles) and do try to read them in some sort of order. This particular was a bit convoluted (after all, it's longer than many, too). ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
A good old comfortable read ( )
  Bauernfeind | Jun 4, 2016 |
'It is a romance!' cried Mrs Forrester. 'An injured lady, half a million in treasure, a black cannibal, and a wooden-legged ruffian.' ... 'And two knights-errant to the rescue,' added Miss Morstan, with a bright glance at me." (pg. 88)

Another cracking Sherlock Holmes adventure. With its talk of stout constitutions, most singular peculiarities and Watson wanting to give a man the back of his hand for talking ill before a lady, to say nothing of the hidden compartments, tell-tale footprints, Baker Street Irregulars and a steamboat chase on the Thames, there is nothing quite so recognisable as a Sherlock Holmes story. And yet despite this overwhelming familiarity, with the great detective being so embedded in our popular culture, the stories – including The Sign of Four – retain a remarkable freshness.

This freshness is partly because of the way the story is told through the restrained and yet incredulous narrator Dr. Watson, which serves to restrain our own incredulity at some of the plot contrivances, and partly because of the background detail (the criminal's origin story takes in lost Rajah treasure and the Indian Mutiny of 1857), but mostly because of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's often-underappreciated writing. It is quick and easy to read and yet takes time to take in detail; it is thrilling and fast-paced and yet just as willing to devote words to studious reflection (and a discussion of Winwood Reade's The Martyrdom of Man).

It is this mix of freshness and familiarity (the introduction of the sniffer dog Toby brought back fond childhood memories of watching Basil the Great Mouse Detective) which makes The Sign of Four, and the other Sherlock Holmes stories, so thrilling, agreeable and easy to read. But then, you probably know all this – the reputation and endurance of the stories speak for themselves. As Sherlock himself says after the criminal has finished his recollections at the end of The Sign of Four: "A fitting wind-up to an extremely interesting case. There is nothing at all new to me in the latter part of your narrative, except that you brought your own rope." (pg. 142)" ( )
  MikeFutcher | Jun 3, 2016 |
The Sign of Four- Doyle
Audio version performed by Michael Page

4 stars

This story was Conan Doyle’s second novella featuring the famous detective, Sherlock Holmes. It was published two years following A Study in Scarlet. The story introduces many of the defining elements of a Holmes and Watson adventure, including Holmes’ drug addiction and Watson’s love affair with the female lead. The plot involves a lost treasure, a peg-legged ex-convict, a pigmy with a blow gun and a river boat chase scene. There is a lot of action packed in less than 100 pages. Overall this is not my favorite Holmes story. From a 21st century stand point this is one of the most politically incorrect stories in the collection. And although that is only to be expected for the time period, it makes this one less enjoyable for me. I also think that Doyle’s style and story telling improved as he tightened up the adventures and made the stories even shorter. However, it must be said that this story has some of Doyle’s most colorful characters. Michael Page did a great job bring the whole motley crew to life. This was a fun, quick book to listen to while running errands in the car.

There’s a very interesting bit of trivia concerning this story. Doyle was commissioned to write this story at a dinner with the editor, James M. Stoddart. At the same dinner, Stoddard commissioned Oscar Wilde to write The Picture of Dorian Gray.

( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (106 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Doyle, Arthur Conanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ackroyd, PeterIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Del Buono , OresteContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gallone, MariaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Glinert, EdEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Korhonen, JussiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roden, ChristopherEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
Sherlock Holmes took his bottle from the corner of the mantelpiece, and his hypodermic syringe from its neat morocco case.
"What is it today," I asked, "morphine or cocaine?"
"No, no: I never guess. It is a shocking habit - destructive to the logical faculty."
"While the individual man is an insoluble puzzle, in the aggregate he becomes a mathematical certainty. You can, for example, never foretell what any one man will do, but you can say with precision what an average number will be up to. Individuals vary, but percentages remain constant."
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This is the main work for The Sign of Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It should not be combined with any adaptation, abridgement, larger work, etc.
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Haiku summary
"A locked-room murder,
Priceless treasure? Business as
Usual, Watson!"

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140439072, Paperback)

Yellow fog is swirling through the streets of London, and Sherlock Holmes himself is sitting in a cocaine-induced haze until the arrival of a distressed and beautiful young lady forces the great detective into action. Each year following the strange disappearance of her father, Miss Morstan has received a present of a rare and lustrous pearl. Now, on the day she is summoned to meet her anonymous benefactor, she consults Holmes and Watson.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:32 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

A beautiful young woman seeks the help of Holmes and Watson when the mysterious benefactor who has been sending her a pearl each year since her father disappeared wants to meet her. Involved are a priceless hoard of Indian treasure and a murderer. whose trademark is "the sing of four.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 20 descriptions

Legacy Library: Arthur Conan Doyle

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23 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140439072, 0141034378, 0241952964

Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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