The Sign of Four Arthur Conan Doyle

Author Bio

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a Scottish writer and physician, he was born on May 22, 1859 in Edinburgh, Scotland. He studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh Medical School. He is most noted for creating the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes. Since creating the character and writing a number of books about him, numerous amounts of movies and television series have been made based on Doyle's works.

Genre, Theme, and Setting

The Sign of Four is a mystery novel set in London, England in the late 1800s. The theme of the story is how the two main characters, Holmes and Dr. Watson, solve a peculiar case.

Plot Summary

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson are companions that live together in a flat in London. Holmes and Watson are known to be the best detectives in London. Watson's future wife, Miss Mary Morstan, hears of this and seeks out their help when she is in need of assistance.


Sherlock Holmes is brilliant detective with an extraordinary eye for detail. He's known for his logical deduction and his early use of forensic science. He primarily solves the cases in Doyle's novels. His partner and flat mate, Dr. John Watson assists him in these mysteries, all while narrating the story. He was once an army doctor, until he was shot in the leg which sometimes impedes his movement.

Miss Mary Morstan is the woman who brings the case about her father's mysterious death to Holmes and Watson. She is also Watson's future wife.

Main Conflict

Mary Morstan comes to Holmes and Watson seeking out help. Her father, who was formerly an officer in an Indian regiment, had failed to meet with her when he sent word for her in London. He was presumed to be dead. Six years later some odd occurrences surrounding her father's disappearance begin to happen. She starts to receive pearls in the mail every year, and now she has received a letter telling her to meet at a specific location form the sender. The letter states she is allowed to bring two guest so she chooses Holmes and Watson, and asks them to join her.

Book Evaluation

I enjoyed this novel! It starts of kind of slow, but it soon starts to pick up the pace. If you consider yourself a fan of mystery books at all, this should be on your read list. Doyle's works are considered to be if not the best, some of the best mystery fictions ever and this book does not disappoint.


"Sherlock Holmes took his bottle from the corner of the mantelpiece, and his hypodermic syringe from its neat morocco case." (1) This sentence shows us how he spends his time when he's not working case. To keep his mind occupied at all times Holmes indulges in some things that are very unhealthy.

"'For me,' said Sherlock Holmes , 'there still remains the cocaine-bottle.' (118) In one of the last sentences we see that as soon as the case is solved he returns back to trying to occupy himself by taking cocaine and morphine.

Vocabulary Words

Deduction- the act of deducting or subtracting.

Reconcile- come to terms, or accept as inevitable.

Intuition- natural ability to know something without proof or evidence.

Charlatan- a person falsely claiming to have a special knowledge or skill.

Regiment- a permanent unit to an army.


Created with images by gnomonic - "Sherlock Holmes"

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