Derek Emerson's Reviews > A Study in Scarlet and The Sign of Four

A Study in Scarlet and The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle
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's review
May 05, 2010

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bookshelves: 2010-books-read
Read from May 05 to 15, 2010

My revisiting of the Sherlock Holmes opus continues with the second novel featuring the great detective. Here Holmes is caught up in a mystery which combines horror with crime, and where we meet Mary Morstan whom Watson is engaged to by the end of the story. (For those who saw the recent blockbuster Holmes film, that is the name of Watson's fiancée of the film). The story moves quickly and even includes a "high speed" boat chase -- as high speed as coal-burning boats get. Holmes' deduction powers get the full treatment, although they do include some racist stereotypes of aborigines which reflect the author and time more than intelligence. The story drags at the end as a flashback explains the backstory, but there is less patience since we know ending already. In the short stories Doyle manages to avoid this clumsy technique in most cases, or at least keeps them shorter. Still, all in all this is another fine read.

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