Saturday, 1 June 2013

The Sign Of Four - A Sherlock Holmes Review

                         The Sign of Four (Sherlock Holmes, #2)

Hello everyone,

This week I managed to finally finish one of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes novels, The Sign Of Four . It is the second Sherlock Holmes novel, preceded by A Study In Scarlet. I have also read ASIS, but I won't be reviewing it since it's been so long since I've read it. As for The Sign of Four, it took me a long time to read, but that was mostly because I got to reading other things and forgot I was reading it.... but I had extra time this week and finished it!

In The Sign Of Four, we find that our detective, Sherlock Holmes, has turned to a seven-percent solution of cocaine in order to deal with his boredom, to Watson's dismay. However, just as Watson is about to take matters into his own hands, a new case appears for the consulting detective. When young Miss Mary Morstan appears at their door with the mystery of her father's death, Sherlock is intrigued. He agrees to take the case, and the detective and his companion begin their adventure.

Review (spoiler-free)

I'm going to give The Sign of Four a solid 4 out of 5 stars. I've always been a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes, but before beginning the books, my obsession was limited to the Robert Downey Jr movies, and the TV shows Sherlock, and Elementary. Reading the books is, obviously, an entirely different medium, yet it is one I greatly enjoyed.

The writing itself was surprisingly easy to read. Since it was written quite some time ago (about 120 years ago), and my knowledge of old books is greatly limited to the works of Shakespeare, I went into it expecting something very different. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find the writing to be very modern! My edition was 113 pages, so it didn't take me very long to read it. But I would suggest having a dictionary or thesaurus handy, because it does have a lot of large, unusual words (for me, anyway)!

As for the characters, I enjoyed both Sherlock and Watson equally. Sherlock's character is interesting and fun to read, since he's so unusual. His deductions are extraordinary and I have no idea how he figures out all the things he does. He is calm and patient, always explaining himself to Watson, but you can tell he often knows more than he's telling. I'm always curious to see what he's going to do or come up with next!

As for Watson, he's a little less eccentric, but no less likable. He's often the voice of reason for Sherlock, and he's a bit more easy to relate to. I feel like Watson is often portraying what the readers are feeling - confusion and awe at Sherlock's abilities.

Plot-wise, the mystery was alright. It was interesting, and I wasn't able to guess the ending, which is always good. However, it wasn't as exciting as I'd hoped. In this book, I definitely only continued reading it in order to see what Sherlock and Watson would get up to next, not to find out the conclusion to the mystery. There's a bit too much detail on unnecessary things, in my opinion. This was the main reason I went with 4 stars rather than 5 stars, because the mystery could have been better.

Overall, I enjoyed the story and I'm definitely going to continue reading the Sherlock Holmes series. It's easy to see why it's such a classic and iconic story, as Arthur Conan Doyle is truly a genius. I will never understand how he managed to think up all these mysteries, and all the little deductions that Sherlock makes. If you're a fan of Sherlock Holmes, be it the TV shows or movies or any of the other stories, I would definitely recommend this book. Even if you don't know much about Sherlock Holmes, I would still suggest giving it a try!

Goodbye for now,
Emily Noel

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