21 January 2010

Review: The Sign of Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Sign of Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle book coverI don't know why, but up until now, I've never read any of the books written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle featuring the celebrated character Sherlock Holmes. When considering my reading goals for 2010, Sherlock Holmes didn't rate a mention and I guess it was only that someone else brought one into the house that I became interested at all (thanks Brett).

And so it was that I came to read The Sign of Four. I warmed to Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson much quicker than I ever thought possible. This is probably a result of my ignorance and assumptions I'd made over the years as to the dynamic between them and just what type of character Holmes was. I didn't find Dr Watson to be dumb or dopey in any way, although he is readily portrayed as such in many circles. I didn't realise that Holmes was such a genius when it came to observing the detail in a fashion that even Simon Baker's character from The Mentalist tv show would be proud. Holmes was in no way stuffy or old-fashioned, and I was shocked to learn of this character's involvement with drugs that are now illegal.

I did find the romance between Dr Watson and the leading female character to be totally unrealistic for the modern reader, but who knows, perhaps it was completely believable at the time of publication.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the explanations of logic Holmes provides Watson and the setting in London in the 1880s is immediately appealing. In fact, it's hard to believe the author was writing these mystery novels more than 130 years ago, and I can now understand how the Sherlock Holmes series of books can endure all this time, and why they're a treasured classic!

If you haven't read any Sherlock Holmes, I encourage you to get onboard, I'm sure you'll be pleasantly surprised!

My rating = ****

Carpe Librum!

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