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The Sign of Four (Penguin Classics) Paperback – October 1, 2001
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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 alternate Paperback edition.
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 alternate Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Adrian Conan Doyle (with or without John Dickson Carr) tells a straight no-frills tale very much in the spirit of the Sherlockian canon; Holmes doesn't wind up getting married, Watson doesn't turn out to be the real Holmes, et cetera, et cetera. And there are no attempts to link Holmes to fabulous ripped-from-the-headlines figures like Dracula or Jack the Ripper -- these are perfectly ordinary cases of the kind in which Holmes himself was known to delight for their own sake owing to their touch of the _outre_ and the singular features they presented to the reasoner. Solid stuff despite the weaknesses of a few of the tales.
If you want a couple of novel-length pastiches to go with it, I recommend Nicholas Meyer's first two: _The Seven Per Cent Solution_ and _The West End Horror_.
There are three classifications of stories in the book. First, stories primarily written by Adrian Conan Doyle, with some input from JD Carr. Second, two stories written almost entirely by Mr. Carr, possibly with some slight input from Doyle. Third, six stories written solely by Mr. Adrian Doyle.
Since I have read a number of mysteries by Carr, and expected much, I was most disappointed to find his two stories the weakest in the book. In one instance, after reading the first page I was able to anticipate the entire plot. In the other case, I simply found the story flat, uninteresting, and narrowly derivative of similar stories in the original Holmes canon.
To the contrary, some of the stories by Mr. Doyle cannot be praised enough. One that's typical, "The Adventure of Foulkes Rath," seems up to the work of Arthur Conan Doyle himself. All in all, Adrian Doyle admirably captures the style and brooding Gothic tone that so typifies many of the best stories in the original Holmes canon. Moreover, Adrian Doyle's stories have a kind of life and warmth that brings the Edwardian world alive for the reader.
I would give the book five stars were it not for a few tales that seem off the pace, and decidedly inferior to the others. Alas-- and surprisingly-- these are from JD Carr's pen. Perhaps Carr tried too diligently to write an impeccably logical mystery, where nothing in the denoument was not well provided for in the early story. The effect, unfortunately, was to create a mechanical kind of plot, which made it all to easy for the reader to anticipate too accurately the entire unfolding of the story.
So in this interesting and generally worthwhile book of tales, we might have the amateur outwriting the old master.
All in all, a worthwhile purchase -- and handsome book with great bedtime reading at a very reasonable price.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have always lovedsherlock. Now I am going back and reading the first written. This is my first