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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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2,297None2,756 (3.78)186
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 the Four by Arthur Conan Doyle (1890)

1890s (16) 19th century (75) Arthur Conan Doyle (23) audiobook (15) British (41) British literature (28) classic (73) classics (54) crime (106) crime fiction (34) detective (110) detective fiction (29) ebook (57) England (42) English literature (22) fiction (323) Holmes (21) India (12) Kindle (34) literature (30) London (30) murder (14) mystery (366) novel (59) read (42) sherlock (14) Sherlock Holmes (240) to-read (27) UK (13) Victorian (36)

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Showing 1-5 of 57 (next | show all)
Unfortunately, I wouldn't be able to teach this one since Sherlock Holmes does cocaine and heroin and John Watson doesn't stop him, but it's still a wonderful story. The many layers of mysteries SH keeps track of and finds is impressive. To SH, there are no red herring clues, though some may seem that way to JW and the reader. I can't help but wonder what a novel by SH would look like. Of course, he would never waste his time on something so trivial. ( )
  AprilAnn0814 | Apr 15, 2014 |
Watson: I fear that it may be the last investigation in which I shall have the chance of studying your methods. Miss Morstan has done me the honor to accept me as a husband in prospective.

Sherlock Holmes gave a most dismal groan. “I feared as much,” said he. “I cannot really congratulate you.”

I was a little hurt. “Have you any reason to be dissatisfied with my choice?” I asked.

“Not at all. I think she is one of the most charming young ladies I ever met….But love is an emotional thing and whatever is emotional is opposed to that true cold reason which I place above all things. I should never marry myself, lest I bias my judgment.

"I trust,” said I, laughing, “that my judgment may survive the ordeal.”

Sorry for a lengthy quote but I couldn’t resist. I will remember this second novel in the Sherlock Holmes series for the blooming romance between our dear friend Dr. Watson and the woman in peril, Miss Mary Morstan. When you get romance in Sherlock Holmes you have to cherish it. And Holmes’ cold reaction towards it. There’s a guy who stays true to character.

Of other novelties in the novel one can mention the opening scene where Holmes with much indifference is sniffing cocaine out of boredom. Watson is shocked and warns Holmes of his dangerous cocain habit.

So we come to the mystery itself. Well, all I have to say: This is a short, fast-paced story that takes place all over London - about Miss Morstan and her missing father, a hidden treasure, treachery, murder and greed among the ingredients. Here’s the books concluding remark:

Watson to Holmes: You have done all the work in this business. I geet a wife out of it, Jones (the police investigator) gets the credit, pray what remains for you?

“For me,” said Sherlock Holmes, “there still remains the cocaine-bottle.” And he stretched his long white hand up for it.
( )
1 vote ctpress | Mar 5, 2014 |

The Sign of The Four will be used in the third series of BBC Sherlock as The Sign of Three. I'm quite thrilled that for once I have read the book before they used it, and I will be able to look for everything they used form the book. I can't wait till the third series start!

I liked reading this book as well. The writing style is still quite modern, and reads very easily. The story itself is quite interesting, so it was really a nice read. ( )
  Floratina | Jan 23, 2014 |
Similar to the first full length Holmes novel, The Sign of Four lets us get to know more about Sherlock Holmes through the unraveling of an intricate case. It gives a greater glimpse into Holmes’ drug habit and his pompous and abrasive personality. This time, Holmes and Watson are presented with a mystery at least ten years in the making when a young woman approaches Holmes with a story of her father who vanished ten years ago and her subsequent receipt of precious jewels and now an invitation to meet someone who promises to shed light on the mystery.

Many times through the story, Holmes makes it a point to say that he has a number of theories but doesn’t want to expound on any of them until he has the appropriate facts. Contrary to Holmes’ abundance of theories, the reader walks alongside Watson in confusion as more and more diverse elements pile up without having any clear indication as to their relationship to one another or to the central case. What starts off as the hope of solving a decade old disappearance turns into a case of murder and grand larceny as the crew stumbles upon a corpse and a missing treasure.

As the case grows more intricate Holmes annoyingly goes “off stage” a few times to work on some of his own theories. I found these moments annoying because Watson remains in Baker Street waiting for Holmes and as a result we only get a few sentences of explanation as to these elements of Holmes’ adventures or investigations. Some of these moments involve moments of disguise and subterfuge. It’s entirely possible, based on some of the other elements in this book and the previous novel, Study in Scarlet, that these scenes were deemed to be too dull for inclusion and if that is the case then I applaud Conan Doyle for leaving them out. Still, part of me wanted to see more of Holmes in action rather than Holmes in narrative.

As the mystery wraps up and we reach the conclusion, we once again receive a lengthy narrative retelling a story that happened decades prior. I found this story a bit more interesting to read than the story told at the end of Study in Scarlet, but I was still a little bored by the lengthy narrative. Much of the action and intrigue of the story was boiled down to its most basic elements or left out entirely as the narrator simply presented the base facts from memory.

The overall concept of this particular mystery was fairly intriguing and I liked the way that it played out. I found myself liking this novel slightly better than the first Holmes story but still felt a little underwhelmed as to the overall style and structure. The nature of his intelligent deductions is fun and while his character is abrasive, I enjoy getting to know more about Holmes. A solid sequel.

3 out of 5 stars ( )
  theokester | Dec 23, 2013 |
While most Sherlock stories are intriguing, this one stood out to me as perhaps the most interesting. Not because of the crime, but because of all the original stories I have read thus far this one seems the most interested in Sherlock's motivation and character- fleshed him out as it were.

I also can't help but be amused by Doyle's treatment of Sherlock's drug addiction and apparent manic depression. No apologies. This may merit further investigation. ( )
  Zabeth | Dec 9, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (107 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Doyle, Arthur Conanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Del Buono , OresteContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gallone, MariaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Korhonen, JussiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roden, ChristopherEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:45:58 -0400)

(see all 5 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 11 descriptions

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

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Penguin Australia

Three editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140439072, 0141034378, 0241952964

Urban Romantics

An edition of this book was published by Urban Romantics.

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