The Sign of Four

I've never been a big Sherlock Holmes fan. I enjoyed all the Basil Rathebone / Nigel Bruce films, but have never really got into the books - except for The Hound of the Baskervilles , which I read in that most atmospheric of settings, Dartmoor itself. But the short stories and A Study in Scarlet left me cold.

So it was a bit of a surprise to discover that I absolutely loved The sign of four. It's a great adventure story, and a smashing mix of detection, adventure, and humour. It is very funny in places. The book opens macabrely, and very oddly to modern eyes, with Holmes injecting a quick shot of cocaine. The arrival of a beautiful young lady (Watson's love interest) sparks a mystery leading to a treasure hunt, a murder mystery, and a tale of high adventure in India at the height of the mutiny. Peopled with a large cast of eccentric characters, this is a wonderful read, and a great introduction to the world of Sherlock Holmes.


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