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The Sign of Four (Wisehouse Classics Edition - with original illustrations by Richard Gutschmidt) Paperback – June 12, 2016
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“The Sign of Four” begins when Miss Mary Morstan consults Holmes. Her father disappeared ten years earlier. For the last six years she received a large pearl in the mail. A letter told her she was wronged and asked for a meeting. Holmes and Watson will accompany her. Their carriage arrives at a new house. They meet Thaddeus Sholto, one of the sons of Major Sholto, the best friend of Mary Morstan’s father. Thaddeus tells what he knows about the story. His brother Bartholomew discovered the hidden treasure. When they arrive they find Bartholomew murdered in a locked room and the treasure missing! The police arrest Thaddeus and the servants as accomplices. Holmes borrowed a dog, they followed the scent to the water’s edge and find information. Holmes located the steam launch, the police boat chased it downstream. Holmes and Watson shoot at a small man, then another man is captured with the treasure chest. He tells about the treasure from the India Mutiny and has the last laugh (Chapter 12). The Four chose to enrich themselves during the India mutiny. A double dealing rajah straddled the conflict and split his assets for safety; this failed because others took advantage of their position. In turn their plan failed because of an unforeseen watcher. The Four who killed for riches were swindled out of their fortune by a clever liar who took advantage of his position. Watson’s reward is a different kind of treasure.
Was this a subtle criticism of Imperialism?