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The Sign of Four (Penguin Classics) Mass Market Paperback – 6 Mar 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 222 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (6 Mar. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141034378
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141034379
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 1.2 x 18.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (222 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 360,565 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Perhaps the greatest of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries is this: that when we talk of him we invariably fall into the fancy of his existence (T. S. Eliot) --This text refers to an alternate Mass Market Paperback edition.

Book Description

A tie-in edition of Arthur Conan Doyle's classic Sherlock Holmes novel, with a new introduction by Martin Freeman --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This collection of stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyles youngest son, Adrian Conan Doyle, in collaboration with American mystery writer John Dickson Carr, are a wonderful treat for anyone who loves the originals! The twelve stories here refer to cases that Doyle made teasing reference to in the original series but never made available to the reading public. The stories are filled with black hearted villians, damsels in distress, atmosphere, and above all, the friendship between Holmes and Watson that have made them the most famous characters in the history of literature. Several stories like "The Adventure of the Deptford Horror" and "The Adventure of the Red Widow" are dark tales of murder; while others such as "The Aventure of the Wax Gamblers" and "The Aventure of the Highgate Miracle" will make you smile. What I enjoyed the most is that the authors have tried to stay true to the characters and didn't try to change them as other writers have done. The stories seem to have been written with one goal in mind, to fill the reader with delight! Originaly written in the early 1950s and out of print for many years, I am happy that Random House has released this once again, and in a Hardbound edition. Come dear reader,"the games afoot!"
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Format: Paperback
"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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Format: Hardcover
There is a long and honoured tradition among mystery writers and fans of the Sherlock Holmes tales of writing one's own mystery. This can take one of several starting points - to take a detail in the canonical stories and develop it more fully (there are a lot of dangling pieces in there), to take the characters of Holmes and Watson (and perhaps others) and involve them in completely new fictional scenarios, or involve the characters in actual historical events. Adrian Conan Doyle, youngest son of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, teamed with veteran mystery writer John Dickson Carr to produce a series of short stories developing themes that came out of the official canon of 56 short stories and four novels.
The background information tells us that these stories were written at Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's own desk, so there is a sense of tactile succession from the official stories to these extra-canonical offerings. Well written, they sometimes lack the same smooth character of the better of the official stories (but then again, some of the official stories vary from the high standard of the better of them to a great degree).
This collection of a dozen stories picks up on details out of 'The Speckled Band', 'Silver Blaze', and many others. One of the glories of the Holmes canon is the in the details - those who love the stories spend hours reading and re-reading to catch new ideas and insights, and will likely be thrilled with the way in which Adrian Conan Doyle and John Dickson Carr have worked in many pieces here.
Half the stories were written by Adrian Conan Doyle himself; the other half were written as a collaboration. I think this is an excellent volume as an extra-canonical addition to the stories.
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Format: Audio CD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
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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