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The Sign of Four (The Sherlock Holmes Reference Library) Paperback – January, 2004
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A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
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This work is a real page turner with 12 chapters - the 12th and final chapter takes up almost 25% of the novel and is the back story which shows the motivation and context for the crime - much like part 2 in Study in Scarlet. The story begins by introducing us to Holmes between cases, where he may sit around all day, everyday, injecting himself with his 7% solution of cocaine to pass the time. Yes, cocaine was legal back then and even Freud prescribed it to patients and used it himself - no wonder he was obsessed with sex. Of course once a case comes his way he no longer needs cocaine or morphine to pass the time and becomes energized unravelling subtle clues missed by Scotland Yard's best. Here is an excerpt...
"My mind," he said, "rebels at stagnation. Give me problems, give me work, give me the most abstruse cryptogram or the most intricate analysis, and I am in my own proper atmosphere. I can dispense then with artificial stimulants. But I abhor the dull routine of existence. I crave for mental exaltation. That is why I have chosen my own particular profession,--or rather created it, for I am the only one in the world." "The only unofficial detective?" I said, raising my eyebrows. "The only unofficial consulting detective," he answered. "I am the last and highest court of appeal in detection..."
Regarding this Kindle edition three points. 1) It is well formatted 2) there are NO illustrations in this free version and 3) 'on my Kindle' you cannot 'Go To' the Table of contents directly but there is a TOC. However, once at the TOC page there are no usable links to each chapter but strangely there are links to each chapter on the Kindle app for both my Mac and my iPhone but I read this story on my new Kindle. No big deal just useful to know but you can't beat the price. Wonderful read!!!
Is written in the voice of the "sidekick" considered second person? If not, then I should have said I didn't know - and it is in the voice of the "sidekick".
Very well written, I uncharacteristically was able to recall story line details between sittings no matter the amount of time between them. It would have been a quick read had I simply had time to sit still for a few hours.
That said, however, it's still well worth reading -- and listening. This particular edition (which features a truly excellent price tag, btw) has a companion Audible version featuring WhisperSync, which lets the reader read and/or listen to a professional narration of the novel without losing one's place. I actually listened to it on my commute. The Audible version is very well narrated by Patrick Tull. If you haven't tried listening to books before, and like the Sherlock Holmes series, you might want to start here. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Don't expect this to match the original Holmes canon. I feel that the first few stories didn't arrest my interest enough, but it got better as I read on. Some of the stories were a bit too predictable. I give this book a good rating primarily based on the last two stories--they are WONDERFUL and very creative (The Deptford Horror and The Red Widow). The other stories ranged from "alright" to "pretty good".
If you are new to Sherlock Holmes, get the real canonical stories from Arthur Doyle instead. If you are a seasoned Holmes fan, get this book to make your collection complete. I don't regret having bought it.
Most recent customer reviews
I love sir Arther Conan Doyal he has. Such a unique imagination, you almost believe Sherlock homes is real.