The Front Cover of The Sign of Four[/caption] This post contains spoilers for The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle I’m busily reading through every story in Sherlock Holmes: Selected Stories for a course I’m taking with the University of Edinburgh. One of the stories contained in this volume is The Sign of Four which I finished last night. Overall, I really enjoyed the book despite the ending. The thing that really surprised me, however, was the story didn’t feel like a murder mystery. In fact it felt more like a thriller. The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle was published in 1890 and is the second novel featuring Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson. The story is set two years earlier and has a complex plot involving stolen treasure, murder and a secret pact among four convicts. Perhaps more importantly the book introduces both Holmes‘ drug habit and Watson‘s future wife, Mary Morstan. Despite the murder mystery being the center point of the novel, The Sign of Four feels more like a thriller than a murder mystery, especially to a modern reader. My two reasons for this are:
- The Who Done It aspect of the novel is solved very short as it is introduced in chapter five and solved by chapter seven. On top of this, there is no red herring or fish of any other colour in this part of the book.
- This then results in the rest of the novel be coming a chase through the streets and waterways of London. It is in this section that all the twists appear in.