14 May 2012

Review: The Sign of Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Sign of Four
Yellow fog is swirling through the streets of London, and Sherlock Holmes himself is sitting in a cocaine-induced haze until the arrival of a distressed and beautiful young lady forces the great detective into action. Each year following the strange disappearance of her father, Miss Morstan has received a present of a rare and lustrous pearl. Now, on the day she is summoned to meet her anonymous benefactor, she consults Holmes and Watson.

The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
How I got it: I own a massive leatherbound copy of all his books, :)

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is one of my guilty pleasure authors. I have always loved Sherlock Holmes. Growing up I watched the black and white short movies starring Basil Rathbone. When the newer film came out with Robert Downy Jr. I celebrated the event by purchasing the massive hardcover collection from Barnes and Noble the very same day I saw the movie.

This novella opens with the feature character shooting up drugs. Oh yeah, Holmes is a huge drug addict. Apparently his life is so terribly boring when he doesn’t have a case that he needs to get high to get through the day. For those of you unfamiliar with the Holmes books, they’re told through the point of view of Sherlock’s roommate, Dr. Watson, who you come to find is probably the only living human being who can stand to live with the man.

The problem with Holmes is that it’s difficult to write a lengthy review on one of his novellas. They’re pretty self-explanatory, and I don’t know what else to say aside from telling you all to read it. The writing is wonderful, the characters are memorable, and the plot stands up to Doyle’s reputation.

I’ll have you know that I much rather preferred this novella as compared to the Holmes work done before hand, A Study in Scarlet. If you are going to read any of these works, which I hope you do, I suggest starting with this one. I haven’t had the pleasure of reading all of his pieces, but I know from those I have read, this is my favorite so far. I think you get a better appreciation for the characters and it’s a better representation for the rest of the works.

Holmes, if you’ve ever seen any of the films based on him, is a very fun character, the novellas are short enough to plow through in an afternoon, and the stories are exciting. All I can say is that there are no excuses for giving these books a try. It’s just enough to read between your books that are as thick as bricks, and really, who doesn’t love Sherlock Holmes?

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