The Sign Of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle

This Sherlock Holmes series has really sucked me in and I found myself returning promptly and ploughing through the second book. It was a great series to read when I attempted it a number of years ago and really wanted to get stuck into it again and stick with it.

The Sign Of Four is not an overly long book and the way that it is divided into chapters made it even easier to read at a fairly speedy pace. Whenever I think about how the Sherlock Holmes series was originally shared with readers I find the idea of having to wait for another chapter instalment to come along an interesting one as it makes me feel bad for reading through it so quickly but also honoured to be able to have the chance to read it all at once.

The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle

Copyright of book cover belongs to Penguin

There is a great level of depth and complexity in The Sign Of Four as it creates multiple plots and sees people battling with various morals throughout that leaves the reader thinking about more than just the whodunnit element but also questioning the actions and people that lead to the crime(s).

Whilst there is a specific thing that brings the case to Sherlock Holmes attention there are multiple moral crimes that Holmes has to discover and figure out whilst working backwards from the present to the beginning of the story and with that added level of complexity it helps the reader to be brought along with the story and left with an additional fictional element rather than desperately trying to figure out why anybody would do what they have done.

It is clear that at this point in the series Conan Doyle is still trying to figure out how he wants the stories to progress and wants to add a little more interest to it than just having two bachelor men going around solving crimes. As a result there is a romantic story entwined through the book that allows Conan Doyle to add an additional level of complexity between the friends and a little bit of tension too as they have such contrasting opinions of romance and ‘settling down’.

For me I prefer this book to a Study In Scarlet as it did have that extra level of depths and just went from chapter to chapter instead of two distinct sections at different points in time. Whilst the books could in theory be read alone, as the investigation itself is a stand alone event, there are references to the previous book and parts of old investigations throughout; this referencing back is increased the further through the book series that you tend to go and it reminds the reader of previous events but this book could still be enjoyed without having read Study In Scarlet first.

If you have a favourite story from the Sherlock Holmes series, either a short story or a whole book, I would love to hear about it in the comments below. As always if you want to see what I’m reading right now then add me on Goodreads.

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