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Sherlock Holmes: The Sign of Four - Illustrated, Large Print, Large Format: Giant 8.5 X 11 Size: Large, Clear Print & Pictures - Complete & Unabridged! PDF, ePub eBook

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Sherlock Holmes: The Sign of Four - Illustrated, Large Print, Large Format: Giant 8.5 X 11 Size: Large, Clear Print & Pictures - Complete & Unabridged! PDF, ePub eBook THE GAME IS AFOOT! 30+ illustrations from the original editions. Giant format - 8.5" x 11" desktop size - biggest edition available ANYWHERE - looks amazing on your bookshelf & provides the ideal reading experience for this classic work. Huge 18pt text, beautiful professional typesetting & high-quality bright white paper stock mean this superb edition can be easily en THE GAME IS AFOOT! 30+ illustrations from the original editions. Giant format - 8.5" x 11" desktop size - biggest edition available ANYWHERE - looks amazing on your bookshelf & provides the ideal reading experience for this classic work. Huge 18pt text, beautiful professional typesetting & high-quality bright white paper stock mean this superb edition can be easily enjoyed by all. University of Life Library Uniform Edition. THE SIGN OF FOUR - Holmes and Watson are visited by a mysterious and beautiful woman, whose puzzling case takes the duo through the twists and turns of fog-shrouded Victorian London as they track down a fortune in treasure stolen from an Indian fortress. About the Series: The University of Life Library was founded to publish a uniform collection of beautiful, heirloom-quality volumes of the great works of politics, philosophy, economics, science and fiction, the reading of which could provide all people not only with great enjoyment but, at minimal expense, with the benefits of a traditional, classical education. The Library's titles are chosen to illustrate, reinforce, and promote further inquiry into those concepts and values that originated in the civilizations of ancient Greece and Rome and, being expanded and improved-upon by the greatest minds of Europe and the Americas over many centuries, particularly during the Enlightenment, form the bedrock of Western civilization. Being the embodiment of the virtues enabling the creation of the United States of America, that nation most influenced by the Enlightenment's illumination, and founded upon its precepts, each title opens with an illustration of Columbia, based on John Gast's iconic 1872 painting, American Progress. Additionally, each title is illustrated with related scenes. We hope our editions can provide entertainment, education and inspiration to the young and mature alike. We strive to provide a collection of well-loved, widely-varied works that will take pride of place on the bookshelves of families and businesses for generations to come. "The true university of these days is a collection of books" - Thomas Carlyle FOR MORE FANTASTIC, FRESH, LARGE PRINT, LARGE FORMAT, ILLUSTRATED CLASSICS, SEARCH FOR "UNIVERSITY OF LIFE LIBRARY" AND "CARLILE MEDIA"! Proudly published in the U.S.A. by Carlile Media.

30 review for Sherlock Holmes: The Sign of Four - Illustrated, Large Print, Large Format: Giant 8.5 X 11 Size: Large, Clear Print & Pictures - Complete & Unabridged!

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jayson

    (A-) 82% | Very Good Notes: Better structured, with more character depth than its predecessor, but it feels like a short story padded into a novella.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    Tsk, Tsk, Tsk...apparently that’s NOT tobacco Sherlock Holmes is smoking. You have to love the daring Sir Arthur displayed in this novel vis-à-vis his iconic detective. How many writers would have the chutzpah to risk tarnishing the mystique of their signature creation by depicting him shooting cocaine as a cure for boredom? Sherlock Holmes took his bottle from the corner of the mantelpiece and his hypodermic syringe from its neat morocco case. With his long, white, nervous fingers he adjuste Tsk, Tsk, Tsk...apparently that’s NOT tobacco Sherlock Holmes is smoking. You have to love the daring Sir Arthur displayed in this novel vis-à-vis his iconic detective. How many writers would have the chutzpah to risk tarnishing the mystique of their signature creation by depicting him shooting cocaine as a cure for boredom? Sherlock Holmes took his bottle from the corner of the mantelpiece and his hypodermic syringe from its neat morocco case. With his long, white, nervous fingers he adjusted the delicate needle, and rolled back his left shirt-cuff. For some little time his eyes rested thoughtfully upon the sinewy forearm and wrist all dotted and scarred with innumerable puncture-marks. Finally, he thrust the sharp point home, pressed down the tiny piston, and sank back into the velvet-lined arm-chair with a long sigh of satisfaction. Now that is what I call an opening paragraph. Well played, Mr. Doyle. I’m a big fan of the Sherlock Holmes stories, and one of my favorite aspects of the stories, odd as it might sound, is how thoroughly unlikable Holmes is. Let’s face it, the man is an asshole. He’s cold, callous, arrogant, misanthropic, consumed with his own needs, and sociopathic in his lack of empathy for others. If it were not for his unparalleled gifts for observation and deduction, there would be nothing to recommend him as a person. And that is precisely what makes him so interesting and so much fun to read about. He comes across as more anti-hero than hero, despite the fact that he is not generally classified as such. I would argue that he certainly fits under that label, especially now that we can add junkie to his list of flaws. (Incidentally, suddenly casting Robert Downey, Jr. in the role of Holmes makes a whole lot more sense. …Just kidding). Anyway, back to the story… In addition to introducing readers to the monkey on Sherlock’s back, this novel’s also noteworthy for being the first appearance of Mary Marston, the beautiful young woman who would go on to be Mr. Watson's beard wife. Mary calls on Holmes and entices him out of his melancholy with the promise of a challenging mystery involving the strange disappearance of her father many years before. Brightened by the prospect of being able to employ his prodigious mental faculties, Holmes accepts...and the game is, once more, afoot. What ensues is a complex, multi-layered plot that, while not my favorite of the Holmes mysteries, was solid enough to keep my interest. Starting with nothing but a few flimsy clues, a letter from an anonymous benefactor, and a story with large chunks in it, Holmes proceeds to works his usual magic and mesmerizes all concerned with a dazzling display of crime-solving. Of course. Along the way, Doyle weaves into the narrative an eclectic assortment of supporting players for Holmes and Watson encounter, including: a wooden-legged villain, a killer with baby feet, a group of criminal with a secret pact, a pair of corrupt prison guards, the Baker Street Irregulars, aboriginal tribesmen with bad attitudes, and a whole host of dead bodies. Overall, a solid Holmes mystery with some classic moments of Sherlockian lore, including the first utterance of the famous truism, "when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” In comparison to the other two Holmes novels I've read, I didn’t like this quite as much as The Valley of Fear or A Study in Scarlet. The main reason for this is simply that I found the mysteries in the former books more appealing. Still, there is a lot to like here and Holmes manages to to unload quite a few notable quotables. He smiled gently. ‘It is of the first importance,’ he said, ‘not to allow your judgment to be biased by personal qualities. A client is to me a mere unit, a factor in a problem. The emotional qualities are antagonistic to clear reasoning. I assure you that the most winning woman I ever knew was hanged for poisoning three little children for their insurance-money, and the most repellant man of my acquaintance is a philanthropist who has spent nearly a quarter of a million upon the London poor.’ As I wrap this up, I want to give a final kudo to Doyle for the very end of the novel. In my opinion, it could not have been written better and I almost bumped the whole novel up to 4 stars based on it alone. Even though it doesn’t give away any plot information, I'm still going to hide it behind a spoiler tag since it includes the final lines of the novel. (view spoiler)[ ‘The division seems rather unfair,’ I remarked. ‘You have done all the work in this business. I get a wife out of it, ______ 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. (hide spoiler)] In a word…Perfect. 3.5 stars. Recommended.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Henry Avila

    Sherlock Holmes is bored, he hasn't had a new, interesting case in quite a while, no big deal you say? It is if the man is the notorious self- destructive detective, the best whoever was, (or will be) as his arm will clearly reveal....too many injections of mind - numbing drugs can testify to this horrible fact, the ugly scars. The worried Dr. Watson fears for the health of his best friend...unable to prevent it, he knows Holmes brain needs constant stimulation otherwise, the inevitable decline Sherlock Holmes is bored, he hasn't had a new, interesting case in quite a while, no big deal you say? It is if the man is the notorious self- destructive detective, the best whoever was, (or will be) as his arm will clearly reveal....too many injections of mind - numbing drugs can testify to this horrible fact, the ugly scars. The worried Dr. Watson fears for the health of his best friend...unable to prevent it, he knows Holmes brain needs constant stimulation otherwise, the inevitable decline into ennui, not moving, in the chair, staying in his room, unable to function as a human being. A sight the kind-hearted Watson cannot endure. At last a strange mystery brought by a young, attractive woman , escorted by the tolerant landlady Mrs. Hudson, Miss Mary Morstan, causes Sherlock to move his limbs, the powerful brain begins turning faster and faster , we have liftoff , soaring into the unknown universe from the seedy side , an unlimited territory... yes the land of the criminals, their greed, nothing is beyond the grasp of those who want wealth without working very hard to accomplish this goal, why should they, if only a little killing and stealing will get them this.... Even Watson feels happy, he likes the nervous lady. The Sign of Four begins in actuality in colonial India, convicts in a hellish penal colony in the remote Andaman Islands, far from the Indian coast, the leader of a group of these not very respectable men, a white man and three natives, discloses information of hidden treasure buried in a distant fort. Stolen from a rich nobleman, during the time of the vast Indian uprising against British rule, in the 19th century, (1857 ) the owner of these trinkets involved in the late rebellion flees for his life when it ..the spirit of freedom is crushed. Leaving all the beautiful jewels, and exquisite pearls , orphans. He that digs them up shall become fabulously rich, nobody except the gang knows where . A deal between the convicts and two English officers are solemnly pledged, still there's no honor among thieves as the proverb states so well. That is where our friend the eager, Holmes arrives on the scene, Mary, who tells the story, the little she knows, is the daughter of one of the army officers that struck the bad bargain , as time will show, nevertheless not all gentlemen are honest. This will give fans of the Baker Street two, (not to forget the irregulars) crime fighters a good read... Plus an exciting, surreal trip down the Thames ...And a nice puzzle to solve...After all Sherlock Holmes is the master...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    Oh, Holmes! I still love you, but this was...not your best book, buddy. Hmm. Ok, now I remember why I never really read the full-length Sherlock stories very much, and usually preferred to stick with the shorties. This was kinda...*cough* dull. And really hard to get through. Plus, (and I know it was written in a different era) it was pretty cringe-worthy when dealing with race. Yep. Pretty much anyone who wasn't white was a snarling savage or a faithful servant. So, yeah. Not very entertaining to Oh, Holmes! I still love you, but this was...not your best book, buddy. Hmm. Ok, now I remember why I never really read the full-length Sherlock stories very much, and usually preferred to stick with the shorties. This was kinda...*cough* dull. And really hard to get through. Plus, (and I know it was written in a different era) it was pretty cringe-worthy when dealing with race. Yep. Pretty much anyone who wasn't white was a snarling savage or a faithful servant. So, yeah. Not very entertaining to read about that sort of thing at all. Anyway, the main thing that makes this book noteworthy for fans is that this is where Watson Falls In Luuuuurve. Was it a good love story, you ask? Well, not particularly. But at least Watson seemed to admire Mary as a person, and not think of her as some sort of an arm decoration. So, yes, as backward as Doyle is when it comes to race, he's at least got an itty-bitty lick of sense when it comes to women. And when Holmes makes derogatory statements about women & love, Watson gallantly defends us womenfolk with grunts of disapproval. I believe this was written when Doyle was sick and tired of writing about Sherlock, and it shows. Sherly is almost as obnoxious as he can possibly be portrayed, while still being considered the hero of the story. I mean, the first scene describes his cocaine habit which isn't likely to endear him to many people. Even back in the day, before Nancy Reagan got her hooks into folks, a drug habit wouldn't have been considered an especially attractive quality. Beyond that, the mystery is just a bit far-fetched, even for a Sherlock story. And maybe that's another reason I prefer the shorts? While they're still fantastical, they're more street-level stories. OR maybe they're not, and I'm just remembering them with rose colored glasses... In the end, I felt like Holmes was really unlikable in this one, the mystery was too convoluted and over the top, and the story itself just went on too long. I can't bring myself to hate the book or the characters, so I guess I'll check out one of the short stories to see if I can bring back that lovin' feeling. Buddy Read with some Non-Crunchy friends.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    If you got bad news You want to kick them blues Cocaine. When your day is done and you got to run Cocaine. If your thing is gone and you want to ride on Cocaine. Don't forget this fact You can't get back Cocaine. Remind me again what you’re singing about, J.J. Cale? Doyle doesn’t waste any time in introducing Holmes cocaine addiction. Something about keeping the grey matter active when he’s got nothing better to do than be annoying. “Hey Sherlock, the first step is to admit you have a problem.” “Hi, I’m Sher If you got bad news You want to kick them blues Cocaine. When your day is done and you got to run Cocaine. If your thing is gone and you want to ride on Cocaine. Don't forget this fact You can't get back Cocaine. Remind me again what you’re singing about, J.J. Cale? Doyle doesn’t waste any time in introducing Holmes cocaine addiction. Something about keeping the grey matter active when he’s got nothing better to do than be annoying. “Hey Sherlock, the first step is to admit you have a problem.” “Hi, I’m Sherlock and I’m an insufferable pedantic butt head, who uses a seven percent solution of cocaine to clear my head. These donuts, purchased at the corner bakery on Bond Street are from yesterday and not only stale but contain mouse droppings and whoever brewed the coffee used one tablespoon too many. That man in the back row is sleeping with a woman (not your wife) who smuggles chinchillas, that man sitting beside him had liver and onions for dinner, the woman beside him recently visited Nepal and has a rubber fetish, and this woman in the front row breeds hippos.” “Um, thanks for sharing (?)…” We’re introduced to Holmes ragamuffin teen brigade, Watson falls in love (Ha!), we have evil pygmies using blow dart guns, a pegged leg dude bent on revenge, mega-betrayals, a locked door mystery, a fairly cool chase scene and a digression which isn’t half as annoying as the one from A Study in Scarlet. A step up from A Study in Scarlet and a truer more familiar Holmes is offered here, still it took me over a week to get through a little over a hundred pages. If Holmes really wants to clear his mind, he should try going pantsless, just like the group who I buddy read this book with.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Delee

    September buddy-read with The Non-Crunchy Classics Funky Bunch. [image error] Sex, Marry, Kill... For some reason when reading THE SIGN OF FOUR- that fun- little, messed up game- kept popping into my head. Maybe...partly...because this is the book that Watson falls in loooooove...and partly because a lot of my fellow buddy readers felt like Holmes was a complete a-hole in this installment of the series. It made me think- what exactly I swooned about regarding- Mr. Holmes since my youth? Would he real September buddy-read with The Non-Crunchy Classics Funky Bunch. [image error] Sex, Marry, Kill... For some reason when reading THE SIGN OF FOUR- that fun- little, messed up game- kept popping into my head. Maybe...partly...because this is the book that Watson falls in loooooove...and partly because a lot of my fellow buddy readers felt like Holmes was a complete a-hole in this installment of the series. It made me think- what exactly I swooned about regarding- Mr. Holmes since my youth? Would he really be my match in the real world? Sadly- no, he wouldn't. [image error] I don't mind that Sherlock toots his own horn now and again (more again and again really)- and I find his arrogance tolerable. He can back it up. He is amazing and smarter than the average bear! It's stupid idiots that boast how wonderful they are and have noooooo idea what they are talking about- that bother me. Like THAT guy! [image error] ...but let's go back to someone like that in a minute- and talk about the book shall we? [image error] 1888 London- Mary Morstan- comes with two puzzles for Holmes. The first is the disappearance of her father. The second is about the mysterious gifts she has been receiving over the years. Holmes in his boredom, gladly takes the case- and Watson- trails along for the ride..and becomes quite smitten with their client. A locked room- footsteps in the dirt...a one legged man...a rope...a poison dart, and a plethora of racist babble- make up for an interesting mystery- if you ignore the racist babble. And believe me there is A LOT OF IT. I really liked THE SIGN OF FOUR until the last couple of chapters- after it was solved and the killer speaks...it dragged and dragged for me. Soooo back to Sex, Marry, kill??? It is a no brainer really... Sherlock: Yes, he is beautiful, and smart, and mysteriously sexy- but there is a reason he holds people at an arms length- he is not that likable- and even HE is aware of it. SEX [image error] Watson: Soooo the marrying kind. He respects women, he is quietly funny and smart. Noooo he may not be obviously sexy- but he is. The fact- that even though he is a better man, he is fine with taking a back seat over and over again- THAT makes this man superior in every way..and a man that will be in it for the long haul. MARRY [image error] ...and even though he isn't mentioned in this novel- who is left??? Moriarty: It goes without saying.... KILL KILL KILL [image error]

  7. 4 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    “How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?” I initially went 3.5 stars and rounded up to four, but only a week later, after reading The Hound of the Baskervilles, I could barely remember what this one was about. It's mostly pleasant but forgettable. In Sherlock Holmes' second outing with Dr. Watson, Sherlock explains that he needs to shoot up cocaine and morphine to add spice to his life (apparently these we “How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?” I initially went 3.5 stars and rounded up to four, but only a week later, after reading The Hound of the Baskervilles, I could barely remember what this one was about. It's mostly pleasant but forgettable. In Sherlock Holmes' second outing with Dr. Watson, Sherlock explains that he needs to shoot up cocaine and morphine to add spice to his life (apparently these were legal drugs at the time). Watson chastises Sherlock (unsuccessfully) for taking chances with his mind, and then distracts him with a question about his old pocket watch. Sherlock, true to form, dazzles the good Dr. Watson once again with his deductions. But this only occupies them for a few minutes. Luckily for everyone except Holmes' drug supplier, Miss Mary Morstan arrives on the doorsteps of 221B Baker Street with a better distraction: a puzzle about a decade-long missing father and a mysterious annual gift of valuable pearls that she's been receiving from an unknown source for the past six years. Could these two mysteries possibly be related? Holmes is intrigued; Watson is in instalove. This is a reasonably good Sherlock Holmes novella, marred somewhat by some period racism toward Africans and a rather lengthy flashback toward the end that explains the mystery. And now I have to go rewatch the Sherlock episode "The Sign of Three" and see what cool connections may exist to the plot of this book. September 2015 buddy read with the Pantsless Crunchy Bunch.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dan Schwent

    Sherlock Holmes sets aside his cocaine addiction for a case. A young woman has been receiving pearls in the mail once a year for four years and now has a chance to meet her mysterious benefactor. Can Holmes and Watson figure out what's really going on without being ensnared in a web of deceit and murder? I read this with those scamps in the Non-crunchy Cool Classics group. So, Sherlock Holmes. For years, Holmes has been akin to H.P. Lovecraft for me in that I'm a much bigger fan of the works they Sherlock Holmes sets aside his cocaine addiction for a case. A young woman has been receiving pearls in the mail once a year for four years and now has a chance to meet her mysterious benefactor. Can Holmes and Watson figure out what's really going on without being ensnared in a web of deceit and murder? I read this with those scamps in the Non-crunchy Cool Classics group. So, Sherlock Holmes. For years, Holmes has been akin to H.P. Lovecraft for me in that I'm a much bigger fan of the works they inspired than the original works. When Jeff and his cohorts decided to read The Sign of Four in September, who was I to resist? After all, Sherlock is one kick ass show... Yeah, I'm still not a tremendous Sherlock Holmes fan. I understand that Arthur Conan Doyle was largely inventing the genre as he went but the longer Holmes stories always seem unnecessarily convoluted. Watson is a sycophant with very little personality of his own and Holmes is an ass, although not in an entertaining Benedict Cumberbatch sort of way. Still, I didn't hate it. It was interesting to see how the detective fiction genre has evolved over time. I wasn't expecting the pulpy boat chase near the end and Holmes actually had a bit more dimension to him than I remember. Due to its place in the genre and because I couldn't bring myself to actually dislike it, I'm giving this a hard-earned three out of five stars.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    The Sign of Four = The Sign of the Four (Sherlock Holmes #2), Arthur Conan Doyle The Sign of the Four (1890), also called The Sign of Four, is the second novel featuring Sherlock Holmes written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Doyle wrote four novels and 56 short stories featuring the fictional detective. The story is set in 1888. The Sign of the Four has a complex plot involving service in India, the Indian Rebellion of 1857, a stolen treasure, and a secret pact among four convicts ("the Four" of the The Sign of Four = The Sign of the Four (Sherlock Holmes #2), Arthur Conan Doyle The Sign of the Four (1890), also called The Sign of Four, is the second novel featuring Sherlock Holmes written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Doyle wrote four novels and 56 short stories featuring the fictional detective. The story is set in 1888. The Sign of the Four has a complex plot involving service in India, the Indian Rebellion of 1857, a stolen treasure, and a secret pact among four convicts ("the Four" of the title) and two corrupt prison guards. It presents the detective's drug habit and humanizes him in a way that had not been done in the preceding novel, A Study in Scarlet (1887). It also introduces Doctor Watson's future wife, Mary Morstan. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: ماه ژانویه سال 1999 میلادی عنوان: نشانه چهار؛ نویسنده: آرتور کانن دویل؛ مترجم: مژده دقیقی؛ تهران، شهر کتاب هرمس ( کارآگاه )؛ 1378؛ در سیزده و 164 ص؛ شابک: 9646641857؛ چاپ دوم 1385؛ چاپ چهارم 1391؛ شابک: 9789646641853؛ چاپ پنجم 1392؛ داستان « نشانه چهار » همراه با داستان دره وحشت؛ در 434 ص از همین مترجم در همین انتشارانی در سال 1388 با شابک 9789643636197 نیز چاپ شده است نشانه چهار: دومین داستان بلند «شرلوک هولمز» است. این داستان سه سال پس از کتاب: «اتود در قرمز لاکی»، چاپ شده است. به نوشته ی: «گراهام گرین»، نشانه چهار نخستین بار، در ماه فوریه 1890 میلادی، در نشریه ی «لیپینکات»، منتشر شد، و در همان سال، به صورت کتاب نیز به چاپ رسید. این کتاب، دومین رخداد نامه‌ ای است، که دکتر واتسون منتشر می‌کند، و عنوان فرعی آن، در نشریه «مشکل شولتوها» بود، و بعدها برای تبدیل به رمان، فصل‌بندی شد. نشانه چهار دو داستان است. داستان نخست: شرح پژوهش پیچیده ی هولمز، درباره ی مرگ «بارتولومیو شولتوو»، و به دنبال آن سرقت گنجینه ی آگراست؛ داستان دوم داستانی ست عاشقانه، بین «واتسن» و موکل هولمز «مری مورستن». خلاصه ی داستان: دوشیزه «مری مورستن»، هر سال از طریق پست، مروارید درشتی دریافت می‌کند، که هیچ سر نخی، در مورد فرستنده اش، وجود ندارد. وقتی این فرستنده ی اسرارآمیز، از او تقاضای ملاقات می‌کند، هولمز و واتسن هم، وارد ماجرا می‌شوند. مرگی وحشتناک، و گنجینه‌ ای که ناپدید شده، به تعقیبی جانانه در خیابان‌ها، به هنگام سپیده دم، و سپس در طول رودخانه ی «تیمز» منتهی می‌شود... گراهام گرین درباره ی این داستان همچنین گفته: «دهساله بودم که نشانه چهار را خواندم، آن شب تاریک در سرای پاندیچری در نوروود، هرگز از ذهنم محو نخواهد شد». ا. شربیانی

  10. 4 out of 5

    James Tivendale

    The narrative begins with a very bored Sherlock Holmes at 221b Baker Street. With nothing to focus his incredible powers of deduction on at the present time, he decides to spend his days injecting a seven-percent-solution of cocaine. Conveniently a client with a particularly peculiar and complex case appears that very day. The potential customer, Miss Marstan, who wishes to employ the world's only consulting detective explains the scenario. On the 4th of May for the last six years, she has recei The narrative begins with a very bored Sherlock Holmes at 221b Baker Street. With nothing to focus his incredible powers of deduction on at the present time, he decides to spend his days injecting a seven-percent-solution of cocaine. Conveniently a client with a particularly peculiar and complex case appears that very day. The potential customer, Miss Marstan, who wishes to employ the world's only consulting detective explains the scenario. On the 4th of May for the last six years, she has received a rare and valuable pearl in the post. However, recently she has received an anonymous note from the sender of the jewels saying that they would like to arrange a meeting. She asks Holmes' advice regarding what she should do. Holmes, no longer depressed and bored seems overtaken by a burst of energy and states that himself and Watson will accompany her to the meeting and hopefully shed light on these untypical events. Once again written in the guise of Dr. Watson's first-person perspective, The Sign of Four is my second favourite of Conan Doyle's four full-length Sherlock Holmes stories. A Study in Scarlet was a good introduction but like many readers, I didn't like the second half of that tale as it didn't focus on everybody's favourite master of deduction. In my opinion, Conan Doyle took everything that worked in that novel, structured it better, composed a superior story, and had some more colourful characters. It also mentions certain elements that build the Sherlock character and his working environment that people nowadays take for granted as being well-known facts about the character. Such as that he was an exceptional boxer, a highly adept violin player and a master of disguise. The Sign of Four also introduces Holmes' youthful detective squad The Baker Street Irregulars and a bloodhound Toby who has an amazing sense of smell. In fact, Holmes states "I would rather have Toby's help than that of the whole detective force of London." It was never going to be as simple as Holmes, Watson, and Miss Marston meeting up with the letter's sender and a reasonable explanation being given regarding the pearls. Of course not. Holmes and Watson soon find themselves trying to figure out the facts behind a locked-door murder. Sherlock often assists the police in such cases and throughout this tale, the Detective in question is Alatheny Jones. Jones is presented as foolish although very excitable, often jumping to rash conclusions that we as readers know are incorrect as Holmes and Watson have just been unraveling the facts and tracked the highly probable sequence of events beforehand. Although he is presented as imprudent and maybe even half-witted he is very likable and Holmes patience with him is a nice touch. He is nothing like the Alatheny Jones that he would later become in Anthony Horowitz's Moriarty where he presents deduction skills that rival those of Sherlock. "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." The Sign of Four is an intriguing and exciting entry in the Sherlock Holmes canon. It's often thrilling, always detailed and features some amazing set pieces such as a steamboat chase across the River Thames. One of my favourite aspects of these detective classics is when Holmes leaves Watson to complete an unknown mission and like the Doctor, us readers are completely left in the dark as to what the sleuth is up to, which works to heighten the emotions felt when it is revealed what he was doing and how it has impacted or benefitted the case. Also, like many of these stories, but I think this was the first time it was implemented in the chronological order of the tales releases, the case is often solved before the end of the book. At this point, Holmes will interview the perpetrator to get the full story. During these instances when you see the other perspective presented, the motives, objectives and past struggles, you may find yourself pitying and feeling sorry for a character who has been nothing but a villain through the whole story. The Sherlock Holmes full-lengths, barring this one and The Hound of the Baskervilles pale in comparison to many of the short stories but to say that Conan Doyle was perfecting the formula with this entry, I'm happy to call it a classic work of literature and a mystery masterpiece. And at the end, when Holmes is asked what now remains for him he replies: "For me," said Sherlock Holmes, "there still remains the cocaine bottle."

  11. 5 out of 5

    Alejandro

    Greed is murderous! This is the second book and also the second novel-length by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle about the character of Sherlock Holmes THE GREAT DETECTIVE RETURNS The first thing that shocked me when I read the very first time this book was reading that Sherlock Holmes was using cocaine! Certainly, things were quite different in London, 1890! In the book is explained that Holmes' mind is so thirsty of being occupied in an unsolved mystery that when cases are absent, he needs cocaine to kee Greed is murderous! This is the second book and also the second novel-length by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle about the character of Sherlock Holmes THE GREAT DETECTIVE RETURNS The first thing that shocked me when I read the very first time this book was reading that Sherlock Holmes was using cocaine! Certainly, things were quite different in London, 1890! In the book is explained that Holmes' mind is so thirsty of being occupied in an unsolved mystery that when cases are absent, he needs cocaine to keep his mind sedated and not getting stressed out of not having something to deduce. Good Doctor Watson complained about the cocaine since Holmes is abusing of it, so at least there's that. Good thing that a mysterious case soon comes to 221B Baker Street, with Mary Morstan, their new client, who's asking for assistance, since she needs to attend to a mysterious appointment and since she was allowed to be accompanied by two persons (as long as they won't be police). Mary Morstan is a humble governess that some years after the mysterious dissapearance of her father, she has been receiving for 6 years a valuable pearl per year, and now she got a message telling her that she will be informed about what happened with her father. The game is on again! NEW CHARACTERS AND MORE The Baker Street irregulars returned to this novel and their priceless skills to go around London without being noticed, but also a new assett for Sherlock Holmes is introduced with Toby, a dog which is way useful to follow scents and tracks. Also, another Scotland Yard detective is introduced: Athelney Jones (that I personally think that since in A Study in Scarlet (the previous novel) were already introduced Lestrade and Gregson, I don't know why bother to keep inventing more police inspectors). Sherlock Holmes is armed with a pistol in this adventure, that I think that I'm not used to think of Holmes of carrying guns, I believe that it's something more proper for Dr. Watson that was a military medic. Moreover, without spoiling, Dr. John Watson won't be the same after this adventure! But don't worry isn't something bad!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kemper

    Despite being a huge crime/mystery reader, I’ve never been a big fan of the Sherlock Holmes stories. After recently reading A Study in Scarlet and now The Sign of Four, I realize that it’s not me to blame. It’s Holmes. He’s just too much of an obnoxious show-off for me to like. Add in some Victorian-era English arrogance, and I feel like flipping off any Holmes novel I see on the shelf when browsing a mystery section in a bookstore. Holmes and his full-time professional kiss-ass Watson get hired Despite being a huge crime/mystery reader, I’ve never been a big fan of the Sherlock Holmes stories. After recently reading A Study in Scarlet and now The Sign of Four, I realize that it’s not me to blame. It’s Holmes. He’s just too much of an obnoxious show-off for me to like. Add in some Victorian-era English arrogance, and I feel like flipping off any Holmes novel I see on the shelf when browsing a mystery section in a bookstore. Holmes and his full-time professional kiss-ass Watson get hired by a young lady who has been receiving expensive pearls anonymously and now has a mysterious request to meet someone regarding the jewels. Accompanying the woman, Holmes and Watson soon get wrapped up in murder involving a wooden legged man, a savage cannibal and a hidden treasure. Oh, and Watson stops heaping compliments on Holmes long enough to fall head over heels for the girl. I don’t need a likeable main character to enjoy a story. In fact, someone who is brilliant but arrogant and abrasive can be a very interesting if done right. (See Lisbeth Salander in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo for a recent example.) I’m a little surprised at how much I found myself disliking Holmes. It’s not like I didn’t know he was an aloof logic junkie. But what bugs me about him is the whole attitude he has about claiming that his methods are ‘simplicity itself’ while still doing everything he can to milk every moment and make everyone marvel at his amazing talents. He can’t let Watson go to the post office without turning it into a showcase for his deductive reasoning, but once Holmes has the doctor gushing about his brilliance, he just coldly dismisses it as simple logic. Asshole. I did enjoy the fact that this is the one that established the idea that Holmes would inject a liquid form of cocaine into his veins when he got bored and reaches for the syringe the second the case is over. It made him a little more human and relatable. And Watson shows his cutting edge medical skills by cautioning Holmes that the coke might be unhealthy. Maybe even habit forming. That Watson is a helluva doctor.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Carmen

    "My mind," he said, "rebels at stagnation. Give me problems, give me work, give me the most abstruse cryptogram, or the most intricate analysis, and I am in my own proper atmosphere. I can dispense then with artificial stimulants. But I abhor the daily routine of existence. I crave for mental exaltation. That is why I have chosen my own particular profession, or rather created it. I am the only one in the world." The second Sherlock Holmes book opens and closes with cocaine. For some little time h "My mind," he said, "rebels at stagnation. Give me problems, give me work, give me the most abstruse cryptogram, or the most intricate analysis, and I am in my own proper atmosphere. I can dispense then with artificial stimulants. But I abhor the daily routine of existence. I crave for mental exaltation. That is why I have chosen my own particular profession, or rather created it. I am the only one in the world." The second Sherlock Holmes book opens and closes with cocaine. For some little time his eyes rested thoughtfully upon the sinewy forearm and wrist, all dotted and scarred with innumerable puncture marks. Finally, he thrust the sharp point home, pressed down the tiny piston, and sank back into the velvet-lined armchair with a long sigh of satisfaction. Watson disapproves of Sherlock's nasty seven-percent solution, but our hero just finds life so boring. "Hence the cocaine. I cannot live without brainwork. What else is there to live for? Stand at the window here. Was ever such a dreary, dismal, unprofitable world? See how the yellow fog swirls down the street and drifts across the dun-coloured houses. Would could be more hopelessly prosaic and material? What is the use of having powers, Doctor, when one has no field upon which to exert them? Crime is commonplace, existence is commonplace, and no qualities save those which are commonplace have any function upon earth." Nowadays we would recognize Holmes's wild mood swings - which are mentioned quite frequently in this novel - as bipolar disorder or some other variant of mood disorder. Watson sweetly offers a puzzle to Holmes (a watch) in order to cheer him up. "Would you think me impertinent if I were to put your theories to a more severe test?" "On the contrary," he answered, "it would prevent me from taking a second dose of cocaine. I should be delighted to look into any problem which you might submit to me." Or perhaps not so sweetly. I handed him over the watch with some slight feeling of amusement in my heart, for the test was, as I thought, an impossible one, and I intended it as a lesson against the somewhat dogmatic tone which he occasionally assumed. However, after this simple puzzle is solved, it seems nothing is in Sherlock's immediate future but more cocaine. Luckily for all involved, a beautiful young woman (27) comes to the door, pleading with Sherlock for help with a very mysterious case involving her missing father and some gorgeous pearls. She seems hopeful that the dashing veteran Watson will accompany Sherlock on her case. "But would he come?" she asked with something appealing in her voice and expression. "I shall be proud and happy," I said fervently, "if I can be of any service." Mmmmmm-hmmmmmm, I just bet you would, Watson - you sly dog! LOL I'm kidding, of course. Watson is about as far from a sly dog as you can get. He is such a good and honorable man in this novel he was starting to get me a little bit excited! Honorable and good men who are patient and kind make my heart beat faster. ... This gem of a novel yields some amazing benefits for the reader. 1.) The sweet and budding friendship between Sherlock and John. Oftentimes Sherlock is portrayed as a cold son of a gun. "What a very attractive woman!" I exclaimed, turning to my companion. He had lit his pipe again and was leaning back with drooping eyelids. "Is she?" he said languidly. "I did not observe." "You really are an automaton - a calculating machine," I cried. "There is something positively inhuman in you at times." But nothing could be farther from the truth. Sherlock Holmes does his best to attempt to squash his emotions, "But love is an emotional thing, and whatever is emotional is opposed to true cold reason which I place above all things. I should never marry myself, lest I bias my judgment." ...but we all know that he is a loving and kind person. Don't believe me? Look at how kind and considerate he is to his friend Watson in this book. When about to track down a murderer: "Are you game for a six-mile trudge, Watson?" "Certainly," I answered. "Your leg will stand it?" "Oh, yes." Sherlock isn't averse to lulling Watson asleep with some lullabies. "Lie down there on the sofa and see if I can put you to sleep." He took up his violin from the corner, and as I stretched myself out he began to play some low, dreamy, melodious air - his own, no doubt, for he had a remarkable gift for improvisation. I have a vague remembrance of his gaunt limbs, his earnest face and the rise and fall of his bow. Not to mention Sherlock's dry sense of humor and belly-laughs he shares with his best friend. Sherlock Holmes and I looked blankly at each other and then burst simultaneously into an uncontrollable fit of laughter. He loves having a friend and a confederate. Sherlock is a social creature, like the vast majority of humans. "Isn't it gorgeous!" said Holmes, grinning over his coffee cup. "What do you think of it?" ... 2.) (view spoiler)[The adorable love blossoming between Mary Morstan and John Watson. Like I said earlier, Watson's intense goodness and his determination to act honorably towards Mary was very sexy. What was I, an army surgeon with a weak leg and a weaker banking account, that I should dare to think of such things? She was a unit, a factor - nothing more. If my future were black, it was better surely to face it like a man than to attempt to brighten it by mere will-o'-the-wisps of the imagination. Aw. <3 And even though he knows the treasure that he and Holmes are searching for will be the thing that yanks Mary from his grasp: While there was a chance of recovering it I was ready to devote my life to the one object. True, if I found it, it would probably put her forever beyond my reach. Yet it would be a petty and selfish love which would be influenced by such a thought as that. If Holmes could work to find the criminals, I had a tenfold stronger reason to urge me on to find the treasure. Ever since the first time they ventured out together, when they discovered the horrible corpse in Sholto's house, there was this kind of spark and trust between them. Miss Morston and I stood together, her hand was in mine. A wondrous subtle thing is love, for here were we two, who had never seen each other before that day, between whom no word or even look of affection had ever passed, and yet now in an hour of trouble our hands instinctively sought each other. I have marvelled at it since, but at the time it seemed the most natural thing that I should go out to her so, and, as she has often told me, there was in her also the instinct to turn to me for comfort and protection. So we stood hand in hand like two children, and there was peace in our hearts for all the dark things that surrounded us. But Watson would never dishonor her or take advantage of her emotionally fragile state. She was weak and helpless, shaken in mind and nerve. It was to take her at a disadvantage to obtrude love upon her at such a time. *Carmen draws little hearts in her notebook* If Doyle added kissing to this love story, I would be on Cloud Nine here. What a mensch! And he's a tiger when he feels Mary's been hurt. I could have struck the man across the face, so hot was I at this callous and off-hand reference to so delicate a matter. (hide spoiler)] ... Now I am going to add a racism warning here: Doyle is going to malign black people, Sikhs, Hindus, Arabs... probably other people that I am forgetting right now. And of course, women. "I would not tell them too much," said Holmes. "Women are never to be entirely trusted - not the best of them." I did not pause to argue over this atrocious sentiment. You're warned. ... Tl;dr - This amazing novel is not only a classic but a pleasure to read. Doyle is a straightforward and clear writer. The subject matter is interesting, and the plot is fast-paced. With staunch friendship, blossoming romance, and lost treasure - you can't ask for much more from a mystery novel. Highly recommended.

  14. 5 out of 5

    carol.

    Sherlock has been enjoying a Hollywood resurgence. That's not what lead me to pick this up, however. Vaguely headachey, I needed a reading distraction, and the appropriate story in these kinds of situations is a touchy one. I was finishing Winter Tide, but didn't want to lose my appreciation of it's cool and misty beauty. Non-fiction was clearly out. I could  attack the last Faith Hunter book, but I had the feeling that irritation would push into pain faster than I could say, 'Excederin.' A myst Sherlock has been enjoying a Hollywood resurgence. That's not what lead me to pick this up, however. Vaguely headachey, I needed a reading distraction, and the appropriate story in these kinds of situations is a touchy one. I was finishing Winter Tide, but didn't want to lose my appreciation of it's cool and misty beauty. Non-fiction was clearly out. I could  attack the last Faith Hunter book, but I had the feeling that irritation would push into pain faster than I could say, 'Excederin.' A mystery then, a weak one that demanded little and whose writing might lull rather than engage. The Connolly I had? Absolutely not. A Christie? Nah; the ones I had seemed too fresh. Wait--next to Christie was Doyle. Ah, perfect. I mean, 'perfect' in the sense of a half-hearted, sleepy-couch read. I thought the tale well told, and interesting in a historic kind of way. I remembered, reading, that Watson drove me a bit batty when I read before, with his assumptions and judging. He doubtfully questions Holmes as to how he knows something, and when Holmes proves his deduction and observation powers by telling Watson about his gold watch, Watson gets all pissy and pouty. So unsympathetic. And I still don't know why anyone makes a deal at all about Holmes' drug use. He explains his using here, and it actually makes perfect sense to me. Of course, I happen to know all about consequences, like the cardiac damage and the brain rewiring and the gradual replacement of drugs for emotional connections, but that's real life and this is a book. Yet many of the reviews I looked at mention this. Are we really scandalized still over a book from 1890? Well, sort of, because Conan Doyle pulls in a--SPOILER, cripes--(view spoiler)[faithful South American Pygmy as part of the crime. (hide spoiler)] First, offensive. Second, lame. That's like the 19th century equivalent of using a schizophrenic serial killer. There's also loads of what we'd now call racial profiling, only wrapped up in that darling Victorian-era physiognomy, complete with pejorative adjectives. I mean, none of that is surprising, and this is like, 130 years ago, so it's not like I'm offended--which is clearly a privilege, right?--but at this point, I'm not mad, just extra tired and a little bored, like, 'seriously?' Why are we going to Doyle for source material, when he was so clearly cribbing from adventure stories from when he was a kid? Although, this was only his second book, so I should cut him a break. Plus, he was just trying to make some dough to pay off the bills, which is totally fair. What was ethically interesting to me is that Holmes and Watson seem convinced that a mysterious treasure belongs to the daughter of a British major who was a prison warden and another major who all served in India. I was immediately stuck while reading that, oh, sure, the majors came by the treasure honestly. It's clearly evil deeds coming back to bite them in the butt. But they act like that's a thing. Anyway, it's interesting watching Holmes retrace the crime, although mostly with the help of Toby, a talented scent hound. It's also interesting seeing the notes of the legend, including one of his famous costume changes, research on cigarette ash, the Baker Street Irregulars, and a slightly-bumbling-but-appreciative London detective to take the credit. Overall, I'd say at the moment, a 2.5 shots kind of book. Interesting in a historical way, and probably as a starting point of detective fiction--here are where your tropes begin, authors--but seriously, painfully dated. And not because of the cocaine.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Adrian

    Well I read this in 2014 when I was first on GR and wasn't writing many reviews, so I thought I would remedy the situation. If ever I was going on Mastermind, my specialist subject would either be "Sherlock Holmes" or "Carry On Films" (I know very different but both reminiscent of my formative years :) ) This is therefore one of my favourite books, not quite a 5 star but very nearly. It is a great story, well woven, with Sherlock at his best ably assisted by the indomitable Watson. The description Well I read this in 2014 when I was first on GR and wasn't writing many reviews, so I thought I would remedy the situation. If ever I was going on Mastermind, my specialist subject would either be "Sherlock Holmes" or "Carry On Films" (I know very different but both reminiscent of my formative years :) ) This is therefore one of my favourite books, not quite a 5 star but very nearly. It is a great story, well woven, with Sherlock at his best ably assisted by the indomitable Watson. The descriptions of Victorian London are "painted" so vividly one can feel the smog on your face and hear the hooves of the horses pulling the dashing taxis as they rush across town in pursuit of the perpetrator. I've read all the Sherlock Holmes novels and short stories many times and have started investigating other authors. We shall see......

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jan-Maat

    I am quite impressed and curious that this 1890 novel is better than Conan-Doyle's 1912 The Lost World it is as though the repeated practise of writing exhausted his talent, and he got worse over time - but this is just a passing thought, further research is required to make it a theory. Truly it is just like a typical Sherlock Holmes short story, except five times longer, it doesn't seem any more complex, but neither does it seem padded out. I wondered though if money is at the root (or treasure I am quite impressed and curious that this 1890 novel is better than Conan-Doyle's 1912 The Lost World it is as though the repeated practise of writing exhausted his talent, and he got worse over time - but this is just a passing thought, further research is required to make it a theory. Truly it is just like a typical Sherlock Holmes short story, except five times longer, it doesn't seem any more complex, but neither does it seem padded out. I wondered though if money is at the root (or treasure or assets broadly, fixed or liquid) of all Sherlock Holmes stories? I can't think of any motivation for criminality in his stories that doesn't concern gaining control over an inheritance, an income, or the fear of loosing the same. Perhaps this is the great late Victorian obsession - wealth buys you status and position, it alienates you from the realities of the South London streets- with gaudy pubs on their corners full of scruffy men drinking their breakfasts, that Holmes and Watson with a borrowed dog tour in pursuit of a criminal who made the fatal mistake of stepping in some creosote. The prospect of great wealth means that Doctor Watson will be unable to marry the young woman that we are introduced to in this story. Wealth then plays a curious role in the world of Holmes at once desirable, the lust for it will push people into committing crimes, and because of that, alienating - destructive of intimacy and connection between people. Naturally once you've 'acquired' wealth, in this story stolen from somebody who had stolen it from somebody who had (view spoiler)[ well you get the general idea (hide spoiler)] , you have to guard it like a dragon, I don't know if Conan-Doyle saw the Ring cycle on stage but his work has something of that flavour (particularly here in the ending): with great wealth comes great insecurity and fear, because truly who can protect themselves from the avenging power of a midget with a blowpipe and a man with a wooden leg, eager to steal what was stolen from them (view spoiler)[ and they had stolen from...(view spoiler)[ I wasn't quite expecting to learn from Sherlock Homes that Property is Theft, but that does seem to be the conclusion (hide spoiler)] (hide spoiler)] . Holmes is an interesting figure because Conan-Doyle shows him as uniquely able to move through the atomised and alienated segments of Late Victorian people - he can talk to anyone, he can move unnoticed among any class of people - this for example is not true of the police. Taken with Holmes cocaine habit, one has the sense of him as a transgressive figure, able because of that to shift across the boundaries of society in pursuit of the solution to a crime. However he also has a wayward eccentricity which will become, curiously the abnormal norm, or the norm of abnormality for generations of fictional detectives, they all have to have their quirk, how unfortunate for all future writers that Conan-Doyle devised such an extremely odd character, all subsequent detectives have to somehow remain within the bounds he established, there can be no out Holmesing Holmes it seems. Because of this Conan-Doyle is able to turn one of the conventions of the adventure novel on its head. Normally in such books the world can be approximately divided into two. Home - which is safe, nice, good (but possibly a tiny bit boring) , and the locus of adventure - which is foreign, exotic, perhaps extra-planetary, or in the past or future, or some fantasy land accessible through a wardrobe (view spoiler)[ not available from IKEA, although if you wonder in you might come out with a stomach full of Turkish meatballs under a false flag, which is adventure enough sometimes (hide spoiler)] . What Conan-Doyle says is NO! Adventure, crime, lurk everywhere, there is no safe non-adventurous space - you take on an ordinary consulting engineers job- Crime, crime (the Engineer's thumb)! You can't trust your parents even as you are about to waltz off down the road in your electric blue dress and the money you are due to inherit (The Copper Beeches, the Speckled Band (view spoiler)[ though in that case without an electric blue dress being involved (hide spoiler)] ), behind every door there is the potential for crime just for the chance of a few Guineas more. In this story there is a nice touch of both Magwitch and his Great Expectations as well as Treasure Island, the criminally dangerous man with a wooden leg, the prosthetic leg itself a deadly weapon, the terrible frightening danger of sinister disabled people which no doubt helped put back work towards equality and accessibility for generations, and the heart warming tale of an escaped convict coming back to Britain only to get stuck in the North Kent marshes (view spoiler)[ which can happen even if you don't have a wooden leg (hide spoiler)] . In this story of treasure from India there is an implication that all the world's wealth, and every big house, surrounded by a wall topped with broken glass (view spoiler)[ the thought of which leaves me nostalgic for my south London childhood (hide spoiler)] are the proceeds of crime. Even if you don't conclude that Empire itself is simply the most audacious form of theft in history, it is impossible to avoid seeing that it created the most amazing opportunities for theft - if only you can manage somehow to carry your ill-gotten gains home and watch over them like a dragon. A Wounded veteran of the Afghan war and mentions of the Langham hotel in London (also appearing in a Scandal in Bohemia) appear as passing bonuses for the reader. I wasn't entirely convinced by the ending, but you can't have everything. More graphic drug taking than I recall from other Holmes stories, down to the scared forearm.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ɗẳɳ 2.☊

    Book two in which Sherlock adds cocaine addiction to his list of proclivities. It seems the cases are few and far between, and his mind rebels at stagnation. He abhors the dull routine of day to day living and requires some sort of mental stimulation. Dr. Watson, while highly annoyed, is still much too reserved to ever dare to take liberties. Watson tries to engage Holmes with a discussion of the pamphlet he’s written about their first case, “A Study in Scarlet.” But Holmes promptly dismisses it Book two in which Sherlock adds cocaine addiction to his list of proclivities. It seems the cases are few and far between, and his mind rebels at stagnation. He abhors the dull routine of day to day living and requires some sort of mental stimulation. Dr. Watson, while highly annoyed, is still much too reserved to ever dare to take liberties. Watson tries to engage Holmes with a discussion of the pamphlet he’s written about their first case, “A Study in Scarlet.” But Holmes promptly dismisses it and accuses Watson of attempting to romanticize the cold hard science of deduction. Watson is more than a little upset at the casual criticism of a story he had specially designed to please Holmes, but once again holds his tongue. Thankfully their lover’s spat is soon halted when a young lady shows up with a new case. Mary Morstan tells a strange tale of how her father disappeared from her life. Then a few years later, after replying to an inquiry, she received a package containing a pearl. Every year since she’s received a similar package with another pearl. Now this unknown benefactor wishes to meet to discuss his motivations. She can’t help but wonder if any of this is related to her father’s disappearance. Holmes and Watson agree to accompany her to the meeting. Things go awry, the situation becomes more complicated, and it appears as though Holmes can finally set aside the cocaine for a proper bit of detective work . . . Overall, another decent mystery, not horribly exciting except for the steam-powered boat chase. Followed once again by a ridiculously long interview with the culprit. The final chapter is nothing more than another boring and detailed explanation of the crime and takes up a staggering 22% of the novel. There’s also a side plot in which Watson is struck with a case of insta-love for Miss Morstan, and even proposes marriage . . . or does he? My edition included an alternate ending which may have been deemed too controversial for the times in which this book was published. It reads as follows: The game is afoot! I shook Holmes awake, for I had been reticent for far too long and could no longer hold my tongue. I would rather have all my hopes dashed upon the rocks than sit for another moment with this remarkable man, without professing my true feelings. Holmes saw my troubled expression at once, gave a knowing smile, and took my hand. “My dear boy, I too have been waiting for this moment, of course, I've felt those same longings,” said he. His powers of deduction never failed to amaze. “Oh, praise the good Lord!” I exclaimed, pulled his wonderful face to my own, and ravaged his mouth. A few moments passed before he gently pushed me away, and kissed the tears from my eyes. “Now Watson, we must consider our curious predicament. For I fear this society in which we live will never allow for the possibility of two men to profess feelings of love for one another. We may find ourselves shunned, as though we be lepers.” He stood and began to pace around the room incessantly, as I racked my brain for a solution, analyzing the problem from all possible angles. “Alas!” he ejaculated, a short while later, “I may have just the fix. For I recently read of a new surgical technique whereas a man can be transmogrified into that of a female form. What say you to undertaking such an endeavor?” I had long since learned to always trust in his reasoning, never to question his sagacity. “I must say, it strikes me as rather ingenious,” said I. I noticed a smirk come across his features. “On the contrary my good doctor, it's actually quite Elementary!” One year removed. The wind ruffled my dress, as I stepped across the gangplank onto the deck of the huge ocean-faring vessel. I turned to Sherlock, reached for his hand and said, “How fitting that we shall begin this glorious new chapter, in our unique story, upon the very shores of the New World itself!” ♫ Start spreading the news ♫ A Study In Scarlet (Book One): ★★★☆☆½ The Sign of Four (Book Two): ★★☆☆☆

  18. 4 out of 5

    Keith

    Probably the best part of this book is that it begins and ends with Holmes shooting up cocaine because he's bored. I mean, that's just so damn dark, especially when A Study in Scarlet wasn't very dark at all. Probably the worst part is struggling through all the rampant racism, which isn't nearly as funny as the rampant anti-Mormonism was in aSiS. The peg-leg jewel thief Jonathan Small (awesome) is assisted by a cannibal pygmy named Tonga (also awesome, but also horribly awful). I had to put it d Probably the best part of this book is that it begins and ends with Holmes shooting up cocaine because he's bored. I mean, that's just so damn dark, especially when A Study in Scarlet wasn't very dark at all. Probably the worst part is struggling through all the rampant racism, which isn't nearly as funny as the rampant anti-Mormonism was in aSiS. The peg-leg jewel thief Jonathan Small (awesome) is assisted by a cannibal pygmy named Tonga (also awesome, but also horribly awful). I had to put it down mid-climax because I was getting a little grossed out by all the Tonga stuff (I'm even having a hard time typing Tonga over and over) and also because I saw there was going to be a big Confession scene at the end (so boring). But then I finally finished it, if for no other reason than I really wanted to get to the next book with none of those dangling unfinished feelings. And you know, the ending was actually really interesting -- and oddly enough, like a really complex micro-novel about war and imperialism and slavery and revolution and morality and jewel-thievery. In twenty pages of the antagonist telling his backstory, you go from hating him to feeling sorry for him to hating him to feeling sorry for him again, which was a really fascinating thing to go through. Plus his backstory has a completely fleshed-out cast of multicultural characters that actually act (gasp) like human beings, which almost makes up for all the racism until you get to the part where he goes "and then I stopped by some island to pick up a little savage to help me commit crimes with." Also you have a love interest, two totally different but interlocking multi-generational mysteries, and a couple long speeches about how life is boring without cocaine. On the face of it, that is a rollicking good time -- just maybe not so much in execution, especially with the racism and whatnot. But still, you know? I liked it. I'm glad I read it. I can see myself getting more out of it on a second read. Also this little bit of poetry, dropped mid-sentence and never referred to again: "...on miracle plays, on medieval pottery, on Stradivarius violins, on the Buddhism of Ceylon, and on the warships of the future..."

  19. 4 out of 5

    Piyangie

    This is an interesting murder mystery. The story is full of suspense and it had a fair amount of action. I liked the story in the Sign of Four more than in A Study in Scarlet. I think it is because the way the story was structured and the fact that the main characters of Holmes and Watson were better developed. I was really intrigued by Holmes's power of deduction. Undoubtedly, his is one of the brilliant fictitious detective minds. In addition to the murder-mystery, here Dr. Watson finds his li This is an interesting murder mystery. The story is full of suspense and it had a fair amount of action. I liked the story in the Sign of Four more than in A Study in Scarlet. I think it is because the way the story was structured and the fact that the main characters of Holmes and Watson were better developed. I was really intrigued by Holmes's power of deduction. Undoubtedly, his is one of the brilliant fictitious detective minds. In addition to the murder-mystery, here Dr. Watson finds his life partner. This romantic element was very sweetly and touchingly introduced in to the story without disturbing the main story line. Holmes's character is more established here, giving insight to his peculiar habits and eccentricities. I really liked the fact that Conan Doyle has introduced a realistic fictional detective in Sherlock Holmes. His absurdities makes him real and human.

  20. 4 out of 5

    James

    It is difficult to think of many literary characters who have had anything like the huge impact that Sherlock Holmes has had - not just in literary terms, but culturally as well. The legend that is Sherlock Holmes goes way beyond the world of the written word - and for good reason too; as a character, Holmes is a wonderfully original, eccentric, sociopathic, misanthropic, fascinating, astonishingly brilliant and almost unparalleled creation. The wonderful character that is Sherlock Holmes - both It is difficult to think of many literary characters who have had anything like the huge impact that Sherlock Holmes has had - not just in literary terms, but culturally as well. The legend that is Sherlock Holmes goes way beyond the world of the written word - and for good reason too; as a character, Holmes is a wonderfully original, eccentric, sociopathic, misanthropic, fascinating, astonishingly brilliant and almost unparalleled creation. The wonderful character that is Sherlock Holmes - both hero and anti-hero, coupled with the conversely grounded Dr Watson and the fascinating stories / cases / mysteries that Conan Doyle weaves for the reader compound to produce the excellent Sherlock Holmes novels - of which 'The Sign of Four' is definitely one of the best (although it is hard to choose). It is also difficult to think of any literary characters other than Sherlock Holmes, who have created such an aura of mystery surrounding them, a mythology, an industry almost - very much blurring the boundaries between fact and fiction - creating (in some quarters) a belief that Holmes was indeed a real person, who lived at 221b Baker Street, London - it's there, you can visit 'the home of Sherlock Holmes' - thus adding to and fueling the whole mythology. Whilst not for everyone - these are brilliant and fascinating stories, lots of fun and come highly recommended. 'The game is afoot' (Originally Shakespeare - appropriated unforgettably by Arthur Conan Doyle for Sherlock Holmes).

  21. 4 out of 5

    Apatt

    SH: “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” JW: “Good Lord, Holmes! You just said something iconic! I shall have to write this down. Say that again? “When the what is impossible, and what do you do afterward?” Nah! Watson never said that. The Sign of Four (originally titled “The Sign of the Four”, I suppose that is one “The” too many, so the publisher dropped one) begins with Holmes shooting cocaine out of boredom and then proceeding to hu SH: “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” JW: “Good Lord, Holmes! You just said something iconic! I shall have to write this down. Say that again? “When the what is impossible, and what do you do afterward?” Nah! Watson never said that. The Sign of Four (originally titled “The Sign of the Four”, I suppose that is one “The” too many, so the publisher dropped one) begins with Holmes shooting cocaine out of boredom and then proceeding to humiliate Watson for his mundane intellect, much to the latter’s delight (if I was Holmes I’d be creeped out by Watson’s fanboyism). Soon Miss Mary Morstan (best known to SH fans as Mrs. Watson in subsequent stories) shows up with her peculiar case concerning the mysterious disappearance of her father and somebody sending her pearls in the post on an annual basis. The game is then afoot! Sherlock Holmes stories books are always a hoot, they are clever, fast-paced and often subtly humorous. The Sign of Four is everything I want from an SH novel. The amazing deduction, the incompetent policemen, Holmes creeping about on the floor, sniffing things, Watson often makes fool of himself with his Captain Obvious questions etc. In addition to that, we have a fierce poison darts blowgun vs revolver battle (^▽^) and our heroes chasing a man with a wooden leg (^▽^). Yes, Holmes finally meets his match (^▽^). There is even a romantic subplot which you don’t often get in SH stories. This is the book where Watson falls head over heels in love with Mary Morstan, practically at first sight. Mary “A wondrous subtle thing is love, for here were we two who had never seen each other before that day, between whom no word or even look of affection had ever passed, and yet now in an hour of trouble our hands instinctively sought for each other. I have marvelled at it since, but at the time it seemed the most natural thing that I should go out to her so, and, as she has often told me, there was in her also the instinct to turn to me for comfort and protection. So we stood hand in hand, like two children, and there was peace in our hearts for all the dark things that surrounded us.” Aww… The villains are wonderfully colorful characters, the aforementioned man with the wooden leg and Tonga, his Andamanese blowgun sharpshooter. The lovable Tonga by j(ay) Like every Holmes novel, this book features a lengthy “story within a story” flashback. These are always quite interesting in and of themselves but the absence of Homes and Watson from the narrative is always a distraction. This little issue notwithsatnding, The Sign of Four is another excellent Holmes adventure, and it is one of only four SH novels so we should treasure them all. It’s elementary. Notes: • Audiobook Credit: Free Librivox audiobook, brilliantly read by David Clarke. What a gent! Thank you! • Watson is of course, not stupid, but he is the reader's surrogate and narrator so it is his function he ask obvious questions. How he tolerates Holmes’ condescension is beyond me (the Martin Freeman version of him (on “Sherlock”) is less tolerant of Holmes’ BS, good for him). • The policemen in the Holmes canon, however, are invariably idiots, though. Unfortunately, Inspector Lestrade is not in this one, but Inspector Athelney Jones keeps up the PC plod tradition. • The four SH novels: - A Study in Scarlet - The Sign of the Four - The Hound of the Baskervilles - The Valley of Fear I hope you will check out my reviews of these, though I have not read The Valley of Fear yet! Quotes: “Ah, I expected it. Look here!" He pointed to what looked like a long, dark thorn stuck in the skin just above the ear. "It looks like a thorn," said I. “It is a thorn.” (^▽^) “My mind rebels at stagnation. Give me problems, give me work, give me the most abstruse cryptogram or the most intricate analysis, and I am in my own proper atmosphere. I can dispense then with artificial stimulants. But I abhor the dull routine of existence. I crave for mental exaltation. That is why I have chosen my own particular profession,—or rather created it, for I am the only one in the world.” “I was annoyed at this criticism of a work which had been specially designed to please him. I confess, too, that I was irritated by the egotism which seemed to demand that every line of my pamphlet should be devoted to his own special doings. More than once during the years that I had lived with him in Baker Street I had observed that a small vanity underlay my companion's quiet and didactic manner. I made no remark, however, but sat nursing my wounded leg.” “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.”

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ann (Inky)

    "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." After some consideration, I'm giving the second Sherlock Holmes story 3 stars (maybe a 3.33-3.5 or so, if we're being nit-picky). While the first, A Study in as Scarlett utterly blew me away and captivated me completely, The Sign was good, but in time, forgettable. Also, it was pretty racist. But I'm not gonna get into that. I don't think that being forgettable is totally a bad thing, really. This "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." After some consideration, I'm giving the second Sherlock Holmes story 3 stars (maybe a 3.33-3.5 or so, if we're being nit-picky). While the first, A Study in as Scarlett utterly blew me away and captivated me completely, The Sign was good, but in time, forgettable. Also, it was pretty racist. But I'm not gonna get into that. I don't think that being forgettable is totally a bad thing, really. This story is perhaps a fluffy one in between more meaningful and memorable mysteries. It was Doyle stretching his legs, er, fingers, with the characters and his version of London. I think this one was learning more about both Watson and Holmes and their inner workings. We see Watson fall in love, which to me was rather unexpected. Holmes's reaction to that (and all) romance is cold and apathetic, which tells you a lot about him. But we also have characters throughout this story who somehow know Holmes from the past, which leads to curiosity about how he got to be the infamous man he is in the present. How did he make all these connections, being as antisocial as he seems? We also get into Sherlock Holmes's dark side - which was by far my favorite aspect of this book. It shows vulnerability in a seemingly invincible character. So much has been written about addiction and drugs, especially in recent times with the rise of the Big Pharma fueled opioid epidemic (cough), but, as a recovering addict myself, I can confidently say that a majority of writers fail miserable in this aspect. As with any aspect of human existence, you can never truly know what it is like unless you've been there. Hearing Holmes talk about using morphine and cocaine struck such a nerve in me...it was like taking the words right out of my mouth - with a bit less "thus"'s and replacing "heroin" with "morphine". "He thrust the sharp point [of the needle] home, pressed down the tiny piston, and sank back into the velvet-lined armchair with a long sigh of satisfaction." That is almost difficult for me to read, as I know other addicts will agree. But what an incredible opening scene! With one opening paragraph, Sherlock Holmes transforms from a shining hero, into a mysterious, struggling antihero. In the middle of the book, Watson makes some remark about how Holmes would make the perfect criminal, if he had chosen the dark side instead of the light. It makes the reader think Why? Why is this brooding, boastful drug addict solving crime instead of committing it? With his knowledge, they would never catch him. What makes him good? Now I need to do some research on Doyle's own habits, but my gut tells me that there's no way he could have wrote about Holmes's dirty habits with such certainty if he hadn't experienced addiction himself. Every addict knows the basic story and struggle of another addict. This story also had humor that was rather unexpected. My favorite line, which had me cackling while chugging coffee and driving 70mph on the interstate at ten AM, was this: "I would rather have [the dog] Toby's help than that of the whole detective force of London." It's both a little jab about the police as well as an example of Holmes's dry sense of humor, that I just adore. Also, Toby is such a good boy and I loved his part in solving the mystery, however improbable it sounded. More crime fighting dogs, please. I said this with the first book, but I'll say it again: but I cannot believe it took me twenty six (and a half) years to start reading Sherlock Holmes! Though of course, I'm also a firm believer in the theory that books come to us when we are ready for them. ~~~ Note: I listened to this book, and will with all other Sherlock Holmes stories, by audiobook. They are narrated by Simon Vance, and the version is called The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Brilliance Audio. I HIGHLY recommend this version if you're going for an audiobook. It is nearly 60 hours, broken up in 7 parts, about two books per part. The perfect road trip selection.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Karlyflower *The Vampire Ninja, Luminescent Monster & Wendigo Nerd Goddess of Canada (according to The Hulk)*

    2.5 Why Did This Take Me Three Months To Read?? Stars Verdict: IT CRUNCHES! It crunches sooooooo bad!! It almost never bodes well when a book that is this short takes me this long to read (The one exception is Donna Tartt’s Secret History which took me half a lifetime over a year to finish). And while I can’t say I dislike Doyle’s writing overall this short novel does basically nothing for me. Incidentally, the instalove is STRONG with this one! Watson falls madly, deeply, entirely in love with M 2.5 Why Did This Take Me Three Months To Read?? Stars Verdict: IT CRUNCHES! It crunches sooooooo bad!! It almost never bodes well when a book that is this short takes me this long to read (The one exception is Donna Tartt’s Secret History which took me half a lifetime over a year to finish). And while I can’t say I dislike Doyle’s writing overall this short novel does basically nothing for me. Incidentally, the instalove is STRONG with this one! Watson falls madly, deeply, entirely in love with Mary in the course of, like, an hour I think. We’ve been here before, in the place where I vent about the absurdity of instalove. I don’t believe I need to go over it again, at least not here. It makes my face feel growly. I could not invest in this story, and while the explanation portion of this shortie was far superior to the completely confusing method used in A Study in Scarlet it’s appearance after a slogging read through three threads of stories murking up each other’s waters failed to save my read. This is, in my opinion, another case of a short novel trying to contain more than its structure allows. Thanks to the Non-Crunchy-Pantsless-Brigade for not kicking me out of their midst for taking this BLOODY long to read a mere hundred and twenty-nine page book!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Merphy Napier

    My review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TaIn...

  25. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    Well alrighty then. Sherlock and Watson on the case again! I didn't really think that this case was all that interesting. I had hoped, in the beginning, that it would be a missing person case, but it quickly turned into a jewel heist case, and a pretty boring one at that. AND SO WORDY! I do like Sherlock himself, condescending though he may be at times, and Watson... but then Watson had to go and ruin it by instaloving the first girl who talks to him. *sigh* Anyway, I do want to continue this se Well alrighty then. Sherlock and Watson on the case again! I didn't really think that this case was all that interesting. I had hoped, in the beginning, that it would be a missing person case, but it quickly turned into a jewel heist case, and a pretty boring one at that. AND SO WORDY! I do like Sherlock himself, condescending though he may be at times, and Watson... but then Watson had to go and ruin it by instaloving the first girl who talks to him. *sigh* Anyway, I do want to continue this series, and probably will, slowly but surely... but I have to give myself time to recover from the paid-by-the-word style of these books. Honestly, if some of the filler stuff was cut, this would have been like 80 pages. Oh well... Onwards and upwards!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ginger

    3.5 stars! Another great mystery with Sherlock Holmes doing his magic and blowing everyone’s mind! The Sign of Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was not as suspenseful to me as other Sherlock Holmes books, but it had some action sequences, romance for Watson, and that made up for it. The plot centers on a great treasure, a set of brothers, and a beautiful woman Watson quickly falls madly in love with. As usual, the police look like a bunch of lumbering idiots next to Holmes. They crawl back to him for 3.5 stars! Another great mystery with Sherlock Holmes doing his magic and blowing everyone’s mind! The Sign of Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was not as suspenseful to me as other Sherlock Holmes books, but it had some action sequences, romance for Watson, and that made up for it. The plot centers on a great treasure, a set of brothers, and a beautiful woman Watson quickly falls madly in love with. As usual, the police look like a bunch of lumbering idiots next to Holmes. They crawl back to him for help when they get stuck on the case. Some interesting twists and turns in the book from a wooden-legged man, a pygmy to the scent loving hound dog named Toby. This was a fun book. This isn’t the best of Doyle’s books but it doesn't really matter, it’s Sherlock Holmes.

  27. 5 out of 5

    K.D. Absolutely

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The Sign of Four (1890) means death. This is similar to seeing Black Spot in Stevenson's Treasure Island (1883). So, these Scottish novelists, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) and Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) have their own ways to depict imminent death, thereby warning their characters of danger, in their masterpieces. In the Philippines, this is similar to receiving an envelop with a black ribbon inside or worst, receiving a delivery of a coffin or mourning wreath. Believe me, I saw a The Sign of Four (1890) means death. This is similar to seeing Black Spot in Stevenson's Treasure Island (1883). So, these Scottish novelists, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) and Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) have their own ways to depict imminent death, thereby warning their characters of danger, in their masterpieces. In the Philippines, this is similar to receiving an envelop with a black ribbon inside or worst, receiving a delivery of a coffin or mourning wreath. Believe me, I saw a wreath delivered to the lobby of the company I used to work with. It was from a lady who one of our male marketing managers ditched. The lobby turned funereal and caused extreme embarrassment to the manager that had no choice but to resign after a month. This is the second novel of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It introduces the following: 1. Mary Morstan who in this novel ends up engaged with Dr. Watson and 2. The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, i.e., Sherlock Holmes using cocaine three times a week to help him in doing his detective job. I was shocked to read about this but maybe at that time, using cocaine might not be prohibited yet. I also know for a fact that some people use drugs to help them in their life's pursuits. Think of the athletes and artists who need uppers to keep their energy going. Think of the scene in Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut where the wealthy couple (played by Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman) uses drugs together while inside their palatial home. The plot is thicker than his first novel, A Study in Scarlet but not deep enough to draw any emotion from me. Also the big chunk of the story is told rather than showed. What I mean is that the characters narrate what happened instead of Sir Doyle bringing the reader to the scene. Again, this might be an acceptable even preferred style of storytelling at that time (and this is just my second Sherlock Holmes) so I am not complaining. This is just a matter of personal preference. Overall, I liked the book. It is non-stop action even if the action is just spoken through recollection. The story is plausible and logical. Theme of greed may be as old as human beings (think of Cain slaughtering his brother Abel) but we still experience it everyday almost like the air we breathe. So any reader can relate to any novel bearing this as its theme. The last book I finished in 2011. I have to read Sherlock Holmes stories now.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Piya

    Actual rating:2.5⭐ Never a good sign when a book this short takes so long to finish .To be frank , there was nothing much interesting plot wise. I had to remind myself it was Sir Doyle's second story and I know he gets much better with the later ones. Now that I think of it, The Hound of Baskervillles would have been a much better option for my re-read.I really like Sherlock's personality - right mixture of arrogance,condescending attitude and humor. His eccentricities are the highlights here . Actual rating:2.5⭐ Never a good sign when a book this short takes so long to finish .To be frank , there was nothing much interesting plot wise. I had to remind myself it was Sir Doyle's second story and I know he gets much better with the later ones. Now that I think of it, The Hound of Baskervillles would have been a much better option for my re-read.I really like Sherlock's personality - right mixture of arrogance,condescending attitude and humor. His eccentricities are the highlights here .:)) This story has a strong Indian connection .Initially, that got me excited. But, ummm....slowly as the story progressed some of the remarks made be a bit uncomfortable. I know this was written 130 years ago and at that time India was colony under British rule and all that...but to read about someone's appearance being compared to dog , calling him a savage distorted beast and hideous creature (not just once but many times) -- kind of upsetting.I had read it long time back as a Bengali translated edition. I think these things were mellowed down in that. (view spoiler)[One of the accomplice in Mr. Sholto's murder is an aborigine of Andaman Islands and this is how he is described: " they are naturally hideous, having large misshapen heads,small fierce eyes and distorted features." "the unhallowed dwarf with his hideous face and strong yellow teeth" "Beside him lay a dark mass which looked like a Newfoundland dog"...on and on. Almost as if the author doesn't see him as a human. (hide spoiler)] On a lighter note , Dr. Watson's insta -love was so ridiculous that it was cute . It took him less than half hour to fall in love with a stranger and decide he wants to be married .#RelationshipGoals. Given the fact,it was written in a different era I shouldn't be too nit picky. In all honesty though, not a good mystery read. Interesting only in a historical way! Thanks Avi for not letting this read to be Su-na Su-na :P !

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tracey

    The Oxford Library of short novels is my hardback 3 book set that I'm reading my Sunday shorts from. This is the blurb from Amazon about the collection.. "The short novel is a literary form that has stimulated writers to some of their greatest work. This selection, drawn from the period when the genre was at its height, 1880 to 1945, and from British, European and American authors, offers readers a wide range of imaginative fiction. In his introduction, Wain argues that the short novel exists as a The Oxford Library of short novels is my hardback 3 book set that I'm reading my Sunday shorts from. This is the blurb from Amazon about the collection.. "The short novel is a literary form that has stimulated writers to some of their greatest work. This selection, drawn from the period when the genre was at its height, 1880 to 1945, and from British, European and American authors, offers readers a wide range of imaginative fiction. In his introduction, Wain argues that the short novel exists as a complementary form to the full-length genre, while being distinct from the "snap-shot" quality of the short story proper". Just to add that I also think it's a great way to try an author without committing to a huge tome ie Tolstoy, Gogol, Chekov, Gaskell and Melville who are all in my books. :) Today's novel was absolutely fantastic, it was exciting, fun, fast paced, had a high speed chase on boats and murder, treasure, a canibal, an ex convict, a bumbling detective, a love interest, The Baker street irregulars (they were so Dickensian) and my favourites. So all in all a very good resumption of my Sunday-short challenge. Has to be 5* rollicking stars from me.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Licha

    1.5 stars. I feel if I give this 2 stars I'd be lying to myself. I did not enjoy this book from the beginning. I tried keeping an open mind but try as I might, this was torture to finish. I found Sherlock to be a know it all, and not very likable. Every answer came too easily to him and frankly the mystery here was not interesting at all. I did like Watson, but felt like he looked too much to Sherlock for all the answers. The Penguin's Classics edition I had (pictured) had very interesting end no 1.5 stars. I feel if I give this 2 stars I'd be lying to myself. I did not enjoy this book from the beginning. I tried keeping an open mind but try as I might, this was torture to finish. I found Sherlock to be a know it all, and not very likable. Every answer came too easily to him and frankly the mystery here was not interesting at all. I did like Watson, but felt like he looked too much to Sherlock for all the answers. The Penguin's Classics edition I had (pictured) had very interesting end notes. I found them more engaging to read than this story.

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