Book: The Sign of Four
Author: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson continue as a young woman pleads with them to help her find her father, missing for ten years. The only clue they have is a set of exotic pearls that have been sent to the woman over several years, each on the date of the disappearance. The two detectives dive in, only to find what should have been an easy case has become darker and more complex with every turn.
Well, here I am, back to another Sherlock Holmes mystery. After the joy that was A Study in Scarlet (not really), one would think I never want to touch another Holmes case again. Still, for some reason I have been trying to get through all of the Sherlock Holmes novels, and must say I was pleasantly surprised to find this one quite good. The story itself is intriguing, and just when you think everything is going to be tied up in a nice little box and finished, another twist occurs, but that was not what I really enjoyed. My favorite part was the character development seen in both Holmes and Watson. Holmes, who is often shown as brilliantly arrogant, does show some glimpses of having a softer side, as well as taking on a bit of a mentorship to the good Doctor. Watson, for his part, is shown going from a one-dimensional, somewhat flat character to having a firm personality. Being the narrator of the book, the reader is treated to hearing the exact thoughts, both serious and humorous, of Doctor Watson as he develops feelings for their client. He goes from simply being the confounded companion to being an intelligent, compassionate man who does much more than just trying to keep up with Holmes’ reasoning – something which, until now, had always bothered me about his character.
Overall, I give this book a 4 page rating. Not only does it have all the good quality mystery associated with any Sherlock Holmes novel, it has that hint of romance and good character development that is so rare anymore. If you like mysteries, this novel is definitely for you.