The Sign of Four
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Review of The Sign of Four
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Jan 11, 2012 09:46AM
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote his second novel of the classic mystery of Sherlock Holmes in 1890 The Sign of Four. In the novel, it has two mysteries interconnected within the novel. All of these mysteries have to go with the notorious and precious Agra treasure. Watson and Holmes are approached by a young and beautiful lady by the name of Miss Morstan who has wondered the disappearance of her father. As Watson and Holmes dig deeper into the mystery, they are approached by new mystery of a death that turns into the main mystery of the story. Through Holmes constant deduction and the help of the police, they eventually find the murderer and the reasons of why he has killed the person.
In the novel, Doyle further immerses readers into Holmes’ crazy antics. He first introduces use to the other side and passion of Holmes, his drug addiction. It sedates his mind. Holmes’s antipathetic manner towards anyone provides the typical thoughts of his character. He is arrogant and cold. The novel also shows the useless of the police at the time as they send the wrong man to jail. The finding of treasure gives the story a sense of piracy. There are thrilling moments of chasing and escaping to catch the suspects of the crime that gives a sense of action and adventure into this mystery. The interesting motive of the story shows an obsession and determination of a desolate man for his fortune and power. Watson has a major blessed event happen to him in this novel that he well deserves. Often been seen as a sadden loner and crimpled man, Watson is final full of bliss. It is happy to see him this way.
As the criminal tells readers and the characters of the book his motive and back-story of the crime, there are loopholes in his back-story. In his story there are confusing sides to which the criminal supports versus what readers will think is the most logical. The impacting and important side-story of Watson is little mention in the novel. It makes the event sound very random and unimportant, when it is suppose to be the opposite. The title of the story is an object that is very literal almost too literal in the use of it in the novel.
The novel is enjoyable to read, but not the best of work of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The novel provides a pleasant shift between the two mysteries and it is easy to follow. The story has a couple of twist and turns in its plot, but not enough to fascinate the advent mystery reader. It is by far the shortest novel of the four novels Sir Conan Doyle, so it is a quick read that any reader will be able to finish in a day or two. The Sign of Four will also be great for any Sherlock Holmes’ enthusiasts.
Mar 03, 2012 01:22PM
I recently read about a dozen Holmes stories recently, including this and "Study in Scarlet". I think Holmes is completely unlikable and Watson is an insufferable ass-kisser. Now, there are characters in modern times that have been modeled after Holmes, most noticeably Doctor House. But at least House has something in him that is charming and funny, whereas Holmes just comes off as apathetic and arrogant. I was very disappointed in Holmes, after seeing him portrayed in Films and on TV as an interesting character. The literary Holmes is anything but.
Mar 03, 2012 01:35PM
It makes me smile that Holmes is the most famous user of "deduction" when in The Sign of Four, he uses induction.
This novel is only interesting for its relation to imperialism and what Said calls Orientalism. Also, for what Sedgwick calls homosociality.
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