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Sherlock Holmes
Classics,  Review

The Sign of Four (Sherlock Holmes #2) by Arthur Conan Doyle

The Sign of Four was intriguing classic mystery and fabulous sequel in Sherlock Holmes series with best duo in history of literature and fascinating mystery.

Sherlock Holmes

The Sign of Four (Sherlock Holmes #2) by Arthur Conan Doyle

First Published : February 1890

Genre : Classic / Mystery

Pages : 129

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Disclaimer : I own this book.
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Synopsis

As a dense yellow fog swirls through the streets of London, a deep melancholy has descended on Sherlock Holmes, who sits in a cocaine-induced haze at 221B Baker Street. His mood is only lifted by a visit from a beautiful but distressed young woman – Mary Morstan, whose father vanished ten years before. Four years later she began to receive an exquisite gift every year: a large, lustrous pearl. Now she has had an intriguing invitation to meet her unknown benefactor and urges Holmes and Watson to accompany her. And in the ensuing investigation – which involves a wronged woman, a stolen hoard of Indian treasure, a wooden-legged ruffian, a helpful dog and a love affair – even the jaded Holmes is moved to exclaim, ‘Isn’t it gorgeous!’

Review

The Sign of Four was intriguing classic mystery and fabulous sequel that revolved around best duo in history of literature pursuing another case of Indian treasure and murder. It was about greed, vengeance, betrayal, trust, friendship and methods of deduction.

Writing was amazing, gripping and fast paced. It was written in first person narrative from Watson’s perspective. Setting of England was atmospheric. Author packed lot of things in just few pages.

I loved the way it started. Watson being irritable disapproving Sherlock cocaine habit and testing his skills in hope of proving Sherlock wrong and failing terribly. Just when things were going uneventful a new case arrived with Miss Marry Morstan who wanted Sherlock to look into matter of her father missing for almost a decade, mysterious gift of pearls and a letter requesting a meeting that might give her information about her father. What looked to Sherlock a very simple case turned into difficult and complex one with a murder involving Indian treasure, and culprit turning out far more cunning than Sherlock’s expectation.

It was interesting to read Sholto family’ story, how Sherlock figured out who was the culprit, how culprit might have committed crime, how Sherlock would catch him, and what was the story behind Indian treasure.

Characters were fantastic. I enjoyed the way both Sherlock and Watson worked together. Sherlock was not the man one could easily to figure out. He was as unique as his methods. I enjoyed reading his thoughts on emotions and marriage and I can’t help but admire his passion. I don’t believe he was heartless or emotionless as he sounded from Watson’s perspective. The guy had fascinating connections and he must have done something great or must have left tremendous impression that his contacts or people he met in his life would happily help him or his friends just by his name. His path with cocaine addiction was destructive and I don’t approve it either but I guess I understand his mind and nature.

Watson was enthusiastic in this book because of case and the lady he met. It was a bit strange he so easily fell in love with Miss Morstan. I mean he just met the lady and knew her for one night while they were pursuing the case. Well, it must be how it was in those times. Anyhow, I’m curious to see where this is going.

Mystery was fascinating. It was amazing to read Sherlock’s observations and descriptions on how he figured out identity of culprit and the case. I liked reading about shortest community of Adaman Island, the tribal people. I have to say I didn’t know about it even though it’s just at coast of south India. On few searches on Google I see there are still some hostile tribes that keeps government and other tribe from entering their side of area but I don’t know if they are as bad as described here. And I saw someone say the description was racist but I guess author had just written what he might have known at that time and as for the appearance we have seen much bad than this.

The chase in climax was adrenaline filled. Culprit’s side of story on Indian treasure was most interesting. It was a bit raw and of course actions of culprits were questionable but fascinating nonetheless. It was second best part to Sherlock’s description on case and the way he solved it. End was perfect. I agree with Watson, it’s just sad Sherlock never gets credit for what he does, officially.

Overall, The Sign of Four was intriguing, suspenseful, and well written historical fiction and mystery. I see why it’s a classic.

I highly recommend this. if you enjoy,
Classics
Murder mystery
Quirky character
descriptive narration
some interesting quotable lines

Book Links

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Hi, I'm Yesha, an Indian book blogger. Avid and eclectic reader who loves to read with a cup of tea. Not born reader but I don't think I’m going to stop reading books in this life. “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”

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