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The Sign of the Four

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Published: 1890
Language: English
Wordcount: 43,176 / 126 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 74.4
LoC Category: PR
Series: Sherlock Holmes
Downloads: 43,786 2306
More Info:

This, the second Sherlock Holmes mystery, begins with Holmes himself in a cocaine-induced haze, interrupted by the arrival of a distressed and beautiful young lady. Each year following the strange disappearance of her father, Miss Morstan has received a rare and lustrous pearl. Now, on the day she is summoned to meet her anonymous benefactor, she comes to consult with Holmes and Watson.

Show Excerpt

What could be more hopelessly prosaic and material? What is the use of having powers, doctor, when one has no field upon which to exert them? Crime is commonplace, existence is commonplace, and no qualities save those which are commonplace have any function upon earth."

I had opened my mouth to reply to this tirade, when with a crisp knock our landlady entered, bearing a card upon the brass salver.

"A young lady for you, sir," she said, addressing my companion.

"Miss Mary Morstan," he read. "Hum! I have no recollection of the name. Ask the young lady to step up, Mrs. Hudson. Don't go, doctor. I should prefer that you remain."

Chapter II

The Statement of the Case

Miss Morstan entered the room with a firm step and an outward composure of manner. She was a blonde young lady, small, dainty, well gloved, and dressed in the most perfect taste. There was, however, a plainness and simplicity about her costume which bore with it a

Reader Reviews

Average Rating of 5 from 2 reviews: *****
Paul Hatton

Interesting 2nd story of Homes and Watson, introducing Holmes's addiction. From th estart well written and rolls along at a good pace.


The Sign of the Four is the second Sherlock Holmes story and the action takes place before those in the short-story collections. One of the most interesting short novels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Holmes and Watson must solve a complex case involving mystery, murder, and a man with a wooden leg.



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Elin Barnes
Elin Barnes has done many different things in her life, like being a flight instructor, working for a criminal appeals lawyer and working for many big name technology companies in Silicon Valley (Microsoft, Google etc.). But the one thing that she never thought would actually happen is to write (and finish) a book. Her debut novel, Justification for Murder, has, in the meantime, earned rave reviews and grown into a series. As our author of the day, Barnes reveals why she picked Silicon Valley as the backdrop, her inspiration behind writing a biomedical thriller and how she went for ride-alongs with the San Jose Police Department.
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