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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Intriguing Mystery
"The Sign of Four" is the second of Conan Doyle's four longer Sherlock Holmes stories - I wouldn't call it a novel, because it's shorter even than the other three.
The level of detection and the intrigue surrounding the mystery is as clever as ever, and possibly more complex than in its predecessor, "A Study in Scarlet". The structure of the book...
Published on 31 Aug 2001 by tj64@lineone.net

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor formatting
All lines are left justified, which is more readable than centre justified but you get occasional strange new-lines,
hanging words and other glitches. Select the version with bales of hay on the cover for a readable version.

Cheers,

Mark T.
Published on 20 Feb 2012 by Amazon Customer


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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Intriguing Mystery, 31 Aug 2001
"The Sign of Four" is the second of Conan Doyle's four longer Sherlock Holmes stories - I wouldn't call it a novel, because it's shorter even than the other three.
The level of detection and the intrigue surrounding the mystery is as clever as ever, and possibly more complex than in its predecessor, "A Study in Scarlet". The structure of the book could be seen as a little clumsy, with the story of Small tacked onto the end as an extra thirty pages - but using the first-person viewpoint like he does, there was no other way for Conan Doyle to integrate it into the story.
This story is also worth reading for its long-term developments in the Holmes stories. We learn of Holmes' cocaine addiction and his reasoning behind it. This is also where Watson meets his wife, which - along with the treasure seeking - makes it the more romantic of the longer stories. The relationship is hardly developed realistically, but Conan Doyle always seems to sacrifice character development in favour of brilliant plots.
If you simply enjoy the mystery and try not to think about such things, the book is very good indeed. It's a very easy read; Conan Doyle's style flowing brilliantly and so offering a perfect form of escapism.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb reading by Derek Jacobi, 23 July 2012
By 
David (SPECTRE Island) - See all my reviews
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Derek Jacobi has one of those voices that you just want to listen to. I have enjoyed several audiobooks which he has narrated and can now add The Sign Of Four to my collection. This is one of four full length Sherlock Holmes novel that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote - the other three being A Study In Scarlet, The Hound Of The Baskervilles and The Valley Of Fear. The Sign Of Four has been adapted several times for film, radio and television. The story sees Holmes and Watson investigating the case of Mary Marston who has received a large pearl each year for the last 6 years. She has now received a letter telling her she is a wronged woman. If she wants to seek justice and meet her mysterious benifactor and bring two companions. She turns to Holmes and Watson. Obviously there is alot more to the plot but I won't spoil it for you.

This 4 cd set runs at 4 hours and 30 minutes. The cds are nicely packaged in a plastic amery style case. If you enjoy a good mystery then why not let Derek Jacobi be your guide into the mystery of The Sign Of Four.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Stunning Holmes Caper, 26 Aug 2009
By 
Caleb Williams (Liverpool) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Sign of Four (Paperback)
I have not long completed "A Study In Scarlet" which was Doyle's first jump into the world of Sherlock Holmes, and it was a jump I thoroughly enjoyed. Now, after just finishing "The Sign Of Four", I am now set in my convictions to make sure I read every single Holmes adventure written by Doyle. This is a longer and, indeed, more complex case than "A Study In Scarlet" yet the writing style takes a slightly different approach as it remains focused on the investigation of Holmes & Watson rather than split into two the story to try and explain the motive behind the investigated crime.

The skills of Holmes this time are called upon by a young woman of the name of Mary Morstan who tells Holmes of her father's disappearance four years ago and then a mysterious appearance of yearly gifts which started to arrive four years ago. This leads them unexpectedly to the scene of shocking murder which reaches to the depths of far off India and the investigation is engaged upon with the help of a stereotypical detective, a gang of street Arabs and the keen nose of a canine.

There are some fantastic aspects to this piece of Holmes fiction compared to his first outing. Still told from the perspective of Watson it touches upon the most interesting aspect of Holmes' personality that being his inherent drug use. This seemingly large flaw in what appears to be a man with an almost perfect skill is something that makes the character all the more human. It also gives a brief look towards the end of the story as to Holmes' perspective on emotional affairs such as love which he sees as opposite to truth and reason.

This is another fantastic Holmes investigation and just makes me anticipate the further stories that I will delve into. For those not familiar with the Holmes stories, I strongly recommend that you begin your quest with the fantastic "A Study In Scarlet" and then move swiftly onto this as it is truly a gem of class English literature.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well-paced addictive puzzle, 19 Jan 2009
By 
Mr. B. Hillis (Windsor, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The Sign of Four is the second Sherlock Holmes novel. It is a fast-paced story involving theft, murder and betrayal, the beginnings of which lie in a robbery that took place during the Indian Mutiny.

The great strengths of the novel lie in its pace, thrilling plot and atmospheric settings. There is also of course the facinating character of Holmes himself: the arrogant, intellectual, emotionally stunted drug fiend solving crime through observation and deduction.

Conan Doyle is superb at set-piece scenes such as the boat chase down the Thames and the incident at Agra Fort. I also enjoyed Holmes exposition of his methods, the glimpses of the seamier side of Victorian London and the comic interludes with Thaddeus Sholto and the stereotypically plodding police detective Athelney Jones.

There are some gripes though. Some characters are mere props rather than rounded individuals. Also, at least once Conan Doyle gives Holmes useful information which is hidden from the reader until later when it is revealed that Holmes has used that information in solving the crime. That Holmes is given more facts to work with weakens the illusion the reader is uncovering the mystery with him.

Overall, despite these faults, the Sign of Four is a great page-turner. Holmes may solve crimes like so many cryptic crosswords but this novel has great action and suspense as well as great detecting.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor formatting, 20 Feb 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
All lines are left justified, which is more readable than centre justified but you get occasional strange new-lines,
hanging words and other glitches. Select the version with bales of hay on the cover for a readable version.

Cheers,

Mark T.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely gripping!, 26 May 2004
By 
Kurt A. Johnson (Marseilles, IL USA) - See all my reviews
In this, the second Sherlock Holmes story written by Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes is called upon by a young lady who needs the great detective's help with a mystery. However, when this mystery leads to murder, Holmes must seek to uncover secrets that have lain hidden for many years, and have their roots in treacheries upon treacheries in far-off India. There's a one-legged man who is at the center of this mystery, and he has a murderous friend who may just be the end of Sherlock Holmes!
As I said, this is the second ever Sherlock Holmes story, written in 1890. As with the very best of the Holmes story, this one is absolutely gripping, carrying a fascinating story with mysteries wrapped up in mysteries that only Mr. Holmes can possibly conquer. As an added bonus, in this story, we get to learn about Dr. Watson's meeting of his true love, and his eventual marriage - which should end some rumors that people spread.
Yep, this is a great story, one that is sure to please any fan of mysteries, and is certain to delight any Sherlock Holmes fan!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark, dated and (some what) delicious!, 2 Nov 2012
By 
Amazon Customer "i did" - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A fairly typical sleuth story with some moments of greatness. What interested me most about the Sign of the Four was which elements of the story have dated and which haven't. The plot itself is very predictable now, it may have been ground breaking at the time. It's a tale of ill gotten treasure from the mysterious east and skulduggery that stretches from country houses to the Thames. You've heard it all before, for better or worse. What really dates it is the portrayal of the Indian characters, prepare to be offended if you are sensitive to this kind of thing - Conan Doyle's descriptions of savages certainly doesn't mark him out as a progressive humanitarian, even for his day.
The characterization of Holmes however is the most interesting part of the story. He's an unapologetic drug user who finds that the only things that stimulate him are mysteries and crack cocaine. It makes for interesting stuff.
Derek Jacobi (the patron saint of audiobooks) does a bang up job as ever.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the exploits of the "World's First Consulting Detective", 10 Aug 2012
By 
Su (England) - See all my reviews
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Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was at a dinner on 30th August 1889 with (amongst others) Oscar Wilde and JM Stoddart. Conan Doyle called this a "golden evening" in this autobiography.

Never heard of Mr Stoddart? Few people have.

Mr Stoddart was the Managing Editor of the US monthly magazine "Lippincott" and was the man who commissioned Conan Doyle to write "The Sign of the Four". In 1890, Conan Doyle had fulfilled the commission and, "The Sign of the Four" and it was published in the US and the UK. Wilde wrote and submitted "The Picture of Dorian Gray" as his part of the commission.

Interestingly the story has changed its name a number of times: "The Sign of the Four", "The Sign of Four", "Sign of the Four" and "Sign of Four". It is now back to the original "The Sign of the Four".

The story:

Miss Mary Marston has received one large pearl every year for the past 6 years. Mary believed that it was from her missing father, but after receiving a strange note she is no-longer sure. Holmes is intrigued and Watson is enamoured.

It is not one of Conan Doyle's greatest stories (probably because it was completed as a commission), but it is still enjoyable.

Sir Derek Jacobi reads the story with superb aplomb.

It is 4 hour 30 minutes spread over 4 discs, and is superb for those days when you want to shut yourself off from the world and listen to the exploits of the World's First Consulting Detective.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice edition of a classic adventure story, 11 Dec 2013
I thought I had read all the Sherlock Holmes stories many years ago, so I was delighted to discover The Sign of Four which was new to me. There's a fantastic set-up, Conan Doyle really knows how to set up an intriguing mystery. And the plot does not disappoint as it unfolds, with a fantastical backstory and a great deal of action. I found the Kindle edition very well laid-out and easy to read on my HD Fire, with well-chosen illustrations and a clean font. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a classic detective adventure story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good, 29 Sep 2013
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This review is from: The Sign of the Four (Sherlock Holmes series Book 2) (Kindle Edition)
Enjoyed reading can't wait to read the next in the series
Would recommend, worth reading, very happy it was free
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