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Showing 1-10 of 368 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 480 reviews
on February 4, 2015
Sherlock Holmes, the world’s first consulting detective, is bored. And when he’s bored he injects himself with one of two types of drugs–cocaine or morphine. His housemate and biographer, Dr Watson, hates to see the genius in such a state so when Mary Morstan turns up at 221B Baker Street with a puzzling case he is relieved. Relieved, and other things. Miss Morstan is rather fetching.

The young woman presents her story, which involves her long-missing father, pearls that began arriving mysteriously a few years ago and, now, a note promising to explain everything if only she meets a stranger that very evening and doesn’t bring any police. She may bring two friends, though. Holmes and Watson will do nicely and they’re certainly up for it.

Off they go and are soon mired in a story involving a locked-room murder and missing treasure and a boat race on the Thames.

And casual racism. Sakes alive, the casual racism. One has to be prepared for it in fiction from 100+ years ago–the Victorians in particular loved some anthropologically-based racism. They started stumbling across new races of people and immediately began ascribing all sorts of negative and offensive characteristics to them. This novel is particularly rife, though.

Story-wise I’d give this one a 4/5. Holmes is doing his typical deductive thing, which is why I like reading the stories and why I assume others do, too. If you’re a completest and want to read all of them then it’s a fine read, though if casual racism puts you off stories, this one is going for gold.

The Sign of Four is the second story featuring Sherlock Holmes. The first was A Study in Scarlet .

[Completely off-topic editorializing: Dang, white people are awful. Just because you own the world doesn’t mean you’re the barometer against what everything else should be measured. Reading it from the point of view of a person writing from the country that had the largest empire on Earth at the time is interesting in terms of getting a sense of ego. It’s a digression, but I kept thinking about it while reading the book so it became part of the experience of the novel for me.]
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on September 5, 1999
I purchased this book in part on the strength of three 5-star reviews on this site. This is a very handsome hardcover volume at a surprisingly reasonable price.
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.
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on October 7, 2015
Interesting edited version.
Like the introductory notes. Very informative.
This story has also been reworked and twisted for movies and TV programming.
Nice to read the edited version.
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on March 12, 2017
Sherlock Holmes was one of my favorite literary characters when I was young. He is still relevant in the 21st century. My adult children find Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as entertaining an author as I did in the '60's.
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on October 11, 2015
This novel is still a page turner after a century in print. The narration is crisp and engaging. This book can be don't in one sitting.
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on April 3, 2017
Much better than "A Study in Scarlet" though I enjoyed both, this one is more thrilling and fun to read.
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on April 5, 2014
This was my intro to Sherlock Holmes. I downloaded it for free on Kindle. I immediately bought the full collection for 0.99 and in this manner inagurated the Kindle. Good product and good marketing for Amazon.
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on July 20, 2015
Sir Doyle paints such clear portraits, his paints are his words and one can almost feel the spray of the Thames when the "game was afoot" as the chase of the Aurora raced down the ancient waterway.
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on March 22, 2017
Fantastic!!!! A must read for all Sherlock fans.
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on October 6, 2014
Classic Sherlock Holmes. A good book for anyone, either just beginning to read Sherlock Holmes or having read him for years.
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