The Sign of Four

The Sign of Four

by Arthur Conan Doyle

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Overview

First published in 1890, The Sign of Four is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's second book starring legendary detective Sherlock Holmes. The story is complex, involving a secret between four ex-cons from India and a hidden treasure.

More complex than the first Holmes novel, The Sign of Four also introduces the detective's drug habit and leaves breadcrumbs for the reader that lead toward the final resolution. Readers are offered an explanation of the mystery from the killer's perspective, encouraging a sense of sympathy with the condemned that the previous book also lacked.

Any fan of the mystery genre should consider this book a must-read.


Scottish surgeon and political activist SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE (1859-1930) turned his passions into stories and novels, producing fiction and nonfiction works sometimes controversial (The Great Boer War, 1900), sometimes fanciful (The Coming of the Fairies, 1922), and sometimes legendary (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, 1892).

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781605200491
Publisher: Cosimo
Publication date: 01/15/2008
Pages: 136
Sales rank: 342,107
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.32(d)

About the Author

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was born in Edinburgh on May 22, 1859, one of seven children who survived to adulthood. Rejecting his family's strict Catholicism and, cut off from their patronage, he decided to set up his own practice in Southsea in 1882.
After the death of his first wife, Louise Hawkins, he went on to marry Jean Leckie in 1907 and they had two sons and a daughter. He died in 1930.

Date of Birth:

May 22, 1859

Date of Death:

July 7, 1930

Place of Birth:

Edinburgh, Scotland

Place of Death:

Crowborough, Sussex, England

Education:

Edinburgh University, B.M., 1881; M.D., 1885

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Introduction
Arthur Conan Doyle: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text

The Sign of Four

Appendix A: Domestic Contexts

  1. From Havelock Ellis, The Criminal (1890)
  2. From Cesare Lombroso, The Man of Genius (1891)

Appendix B: Colonial Contexts: Accounts of the Indian “Mutiny,” 1857–58

  1. From Sir William Muir, Agra in the Mutiny and the Family Life of W. & E.H. Muir in the Fort, 1857: A Sketch for their Children (1896)
  2. From Sir William Muir, Agra Correspondence during the Mutiny (1898)
  3. From James P. Grant, The Christian Soldier: Memorials of Major-General Sir Henry Havelock (1858)
  4. From Rev. Frederick S. Williams, General Havelock and Christian Soldiership (1858)
  5. From Mrs. R.M. Coopland, A Lady’s Escape from Gwalior and Life in Agra Fort during the Mutinies of 1857 (1859)
  6. From Sir J.W. Kaye and G.B. Malleson, The History of the Indian Mutiny of 1857–8 (1888–89)

Appendix C: Colonial Contexts: The First and Second Anglo-Afghan Wars

  1. From Sir Henry Havelock, Narrative of the War in Affghanistan, 1838–9 (1840)
  2. From Lady Florentia Sale, A Journal of the Disasters in Affghanistan, 1841–2 (1843)
  3. From J.W. Kaye, History of the War in Afghanistan. From the Unpublished Letters and Journals of Political and Military Officers Employed in Afghanistan throughout the Entire Period of British Connexion with that Country (1851)
  4. From “The Murder of Lord Mayo,” The Times (15 April 1872)

Appendix D: Colonial Contexts: The Andaman Islands

  1. “The Andaman Islands, A Penal Settlement for India,” letter to the editor of The Times (11 November 1857)
  2. From Frederic J. Mouat, Adventures and Researches Among the Andaman Islanders (1863)
  3. From the Annual Report on the Settlement of Port Blair and the Nicobars for the Year 1872–3 (1873)
  4. From “The Andamans Penal Settlement,” The Times (13 February 1872)
  5. From “The Andaman Settlements: From Our Own Correspondent,” The Times (26 December 1873)
  6. From the Annual Report on the Settlement of Port Blair and the Nicobars for the Year 1873–4 (1874)
  7. From Edward Horace Man, On the Aboriginal Inhabitants of the Andaman Islands (1884)
  8. From Maurice Vidal Portman, A History of Our Relations with the Andamanese. Compiled from Histories and Travels, and from the Records of the Government of India (1899)

Appendix E: Contemporary Reviews

  1. Anon., “Magazines for February,” Liverpool Mercury (5 February 1890)
  2. Anon., “Notes on Novels,” Dublin Review (April 1890)
  3. Anon., “Novels of the Week,” The Athenaeum (6 December 1890)
  4. Anon., “New Novels,” The Academy (13 December 1890)
  5. Anon., “A Batch of Novels,” Liverpool Mercury (24 December 1890)
  6. Anon., “New Novels,” The Graphic (7 February 1891)
  7. Anon., “Review of Books,” The Cape Illustrated Magazine (1 October 1894)
  8. Anon., The Cape Illustrated Magazine (1 November 1894)
  9. From Andrew Lang, “The Novels of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle,” The Quarterly Review (July 1904)

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