The Sign of Four (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)

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By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

First published: Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine, 1890

One of the best and most exciting Holmes novels. From the very beginning, the reader knows that he is safely in the hands of a master: the Master is himself—he has evolved since A Study in Scarlet, and with him Doyle’s style. There is more humour than before; the story is more complex; and Doyle is able to draw convincing characters, from the Sholto brothers in their curious homes to the wooden-legged villain and his savage companion, from the queer old naturalist Old Sherman to Mary Morstan, whom Watson marries. The story culminates in “a mad, flying man-hunt down the Thames”, swiftly followed by a flashback to India.