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The Sign of Four (The Oxford Sherlock Holmes) Hardcover – October 28, 1993


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Product Details

  • Series: The Oxford Sherlock Holmes
  • Hardcover: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (October 28, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192123165
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192123169
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 4.6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (237 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,759,671 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Of all the Holmes stories it is The Sign of Four which remains persistently in my memory. --Graham Greene

Sherlock Holmes is the very foundation stone of the edifice that is crime fiction. --Times

[Holmes] is probably the only literary creation since the creations of Dickens which has really passed into the life and language of the people. --G. K. Chesterton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

This book is in Electronic Paperback Format. If you view this book on any of the computer systems below, it will look like a book. Simple to run, no program to install. Just put the CD in your CDROM drive and start reading. The simple easy to use interface is child tested at pre-school levels.

Windows 3.11, Windows/95, Windows/98, OS/2 and MacIntosh and Linux with Windows Emulation.

Includes Quiet Vision's Dynamic Index. the abilty to build a index for any set of characters or words. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 13, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
What starts out as a small meeting with an unknown man turns into a murder mystery for Sherlock Holmes. I don't like to spoil endings, but let me say this: if you think the book is boring at first, don't stop reading: there is a TON of action towards the end.
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Dustin on October 26, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was a great book, as expected of the Sherlock Holmes novels. The book gets really interesting towards the end as all the others seem to do when Sherlock reveals the mystery. It's a pretty short read, and it's free on kindle! Why wouldn't you get this?
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Daniel J. Connelly on September 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
As the second full-length story of Doyle's Holmes series, this book is a classic. It lacks the landmark status of A Study in Scarlet and the overall drama of The Hound of the Baskervilles, but nevertheless is a must-read for all Holmes fans and is strongly recommended to fans of detective fiction. The crime scene is a classic -- "Watson, when you have eliminated all other possibilities, the remaining possibility, no matter how seemingly improbable, is nevertheless likely".... or something like that.
While A Study in Scarlet deals rather unmercifully with the Mormon colony in Utah, A Sign of Four presents what would now be considered a strikingly politically incorrect perspective on India. It's an historically interesting British viewpoint from late in the last century.
Whether you read a public copy or get it from the University of Virginia on-line archive, I strongly recommend A Sign of Four. It's a quick read, and certainly a better option for spare time than Holmes' seven percent solution.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Peter Tevis on May 1, 2002
Format: Paperback
A classic Holmes novel, this book is perhaps one of Sherlock's most puzzling mysteries. As told by Dr. Watson, this mystery may have been one of Holmes's toughest cases yet.
As Sherlock is injecting cocaine into his blood system, he sits down with placid relief, until there is a knock at the door. In enters the beautiful Mary Morstan, whom Watson immediately takes a fancy to. While Watson observes her beauty, Holmes observes her problem. It seems that she is a rather middle-class woman, with style and father in the military, who is currently stationed in India. He had recently wrote to her saying that he would come to visit. However, he never showed up when she went to pick him up. That was ten years ago. But starting six years ago, four years after his disappearance, Miss Morstan had been receiving mysterious packages containing pearls of great value, one a year. Having been contacted by her mysterious complimentor, should she go and meet him? Or should she stay home? The truth lies with in the book.
This book is a triumph for the celebrated novelist Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and I believe that many people would enjoy this book. Just to be specific, it would mainly be for people who are in the age group of around: 13 or older, and also those who are fond of the mystery novels and thrillers and anyone who could use a good book.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Godly Gadfly on August 5, 2003
Format: Paperback
Published in 1890, "The Sign of Four" was Doyle's second work, featuring the legendary detective Sherlock Holmes. The first chapter is appropriately titled "The Science of Deduction", and serves as a wonderful introduction to the enigmatic man and his methods. Holmes asserts that there are "three qualities necessary for the ideal detective", namely knowledge, the power of observation, and the power of deduction. Holmes' abilities at observation are superb, as evidenced by some of the books he's produced on obscure topics like the tracing of footsteps, the influence of a trade on the form of a hand, or the enumeration of 140 forms of cigar, cigarette and pipe tobacco ash. He is careful to distinguish mere observation from clear deductive reasoning, and it is the latter which really is the essence of Holmes. To him the only thing that is important is "the curious analytical reasoning from effects to causes" by which he unravels a case. Already in the opening, he demonstrates his powers of deduction by coming to stunning and perfectly logical conclusions about Watson's brother, merely by seeing his watch. What is obscure to everyone, is of course perfectly obvious to Holmes: "so absurdly simple that an explanation is superfluous." He is the epitomy of deduction and cold hard reason.
While Holmes is the embodiment of reason, Watson is the embodiment of emotion. Holmes is naturally critical of the emotional and romantic streak in Watson. "Detection is, or ought to be, an exact science and should be treated in the same cold and unemotional manner." When Watson comments on the attractiveness of Holmes' client, he replies "Is she? I did not observe." Completely deprived of emotion, he looks not at beauty, but at cold hard facts.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Roger Long on January 11, 2004
Format: Paperback
The first two-thirds of this short novel are ripe with the foggy atmosphere of Victorian London, as Holmes and Watson seek to help the pretty young client secure her legacy, a trunk filled with stolen jewels. But the thief-murderer duo are apprehended long before the end, and the last part is his rather mundane account of how the jewels were stolen in India and life at the prison on the Andaman Islands. There's actually very little "mystery" or detection to it, since we know who the thief-murderer are early on. The boat chase on the Thames is not especially interesting or convincing, nor is the romance between Dr. Watson and the pretty client. What saves this is the almost palpable atmosphere of London in the time of Jack the Ripper, plus the outrageous conclusions drawn by Sherlock Holmes.
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