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The Sign of Four (Penguin Classics)by Arthur Conan Doyle
Synopses & Reviews
Yellow fog is swirling through the streets of London, and Sherlock Holmes himself is sitting in a cocaine-induced haze until the arrival of a distressed and beautiful young lady forces the great detective into action. Each year following the strange disappearance of her father, Miss Morstan has received a present of a rare and lustrous pearl. Now, on the day she is summoned to meet her anonymous benefactor, she consults Holmes and Watson.
At first the interruption to the boredom of Sherlock Holmes seems to have little to do with crime. A governess, whose father vanished ten years ago and who has been receiving money each year, now needs an escort to meet her unknown benefactor. But before the night is over, murder has occurred.
First "Penguin Classic" edition, introduced by Peter Ackroyd and with explanatory notes and chronology.
About the Author
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was born in Edinburgh in 1859. After nine years in Jesuit schools, he went to Edinburgh University, receiving a degree in medicine in 1881. He then became an eye specialist in Southsea, with a distressing lack of success. Hoping to augment his income, he wrote his first story, A Study in Scarlet. His detective, Sherlock Holmes, was modeled in part after Dr. Joseph Bell of the Edinburgh Infirmary, a man with spectacular powers of observation, analysis, and inference. Conan Doyle may have been influenced also by his admiration for the neat plots of Gaboriau and for Poe’s detective, M. Dupin. After several rejections, the story was sold to a British publisher for £25, and thus was born the world’s best-known and most-loved fictional detective. Fifty-nine more Sherlock Holmes adventures followed. Once, wearying of Holmes, his creator killed him off, but was forced by popular demand to resurrect him. Sir Arthur—he had been knighted for this defense of the British cause in his The Great Boer War—became an ardent Spiritualist after the death of his son Kingsley, who had been wounded at the Somme in World War I. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle died in Sussex in 1930.
Peter Ackroyd is an award-winning novelist, critic, and biographer.
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