Hot Best Seller

A Study in Scarlet and The Sign of Four

Availability: Ready to download

The world's most famous detective uses his celebrated skills of deduction in A Study in Scarlet, the tale that introduces Dr. John Watson. Recently discharged from the military, Watson takes a room with an amazing young man — the arrogant crime expert, Sherlock Holmes. Their investigation of a bizarre crime proves to be an auspicious beginning for one of the most illustrio The world's most famous detective uses his celebrated skills of deduction in A Study in Scarlet, the tale that introduces Dr. John Watson. Recently discharged from the military, Watson takes a room with an amazing young man — the arrogant crime expert, Sherlock Holmes. Their investigation of a bizarre crime proves to be an auspicious beginning for one of the most illustrious crime-solving partnerships of all time. The second tale, The Sign of Four, is an incredible story of greed and revenge in which Holmes and Watson accompany a beautiful young woman on a mission that leads to a terrifying, one-legged man in the dark heart of London. A thrilling experience for legions of Holmes fans, these exciting tales will also serve as an excellent introduction to readers who have never made the acquaintance of this incomparable detective and his colleague.


Compare

The world's most famous detective uses his celebrated skills of deduction in A Study in Scarlet, the tale that introduces Dr. John Watson. Recently discharged from the military, Watson takes a room with an amazing young man — the arrogant crime expert, Sherlock Holmes. Their investigation of a bizarre crime proves to be an auspicious beginning for one of the most illustrio The world's most famous detective uses his celebrated skills of deduction in A Study in Scarlet, the tale that introduces Dr. John Watson. Recently discharged from the military, Watson takes a room with an amazing young man — the arrogant crime expert, Sherlock Holmes. Their investigation of a bizarre crime proves to be an auspicious beginning for one of the most illustrious crime-solving partnerships of all time. The second tale, The Sign of Four, is an incredible story of greed and revenge in which Holmes and Watson accompany a beautiful young woman on a mission that leads to a terrifying, one-legged man in the dark heart of London. A thrilling experience for legions of Holmes fans, these exciting tales will also serve as an excellent introduction to readers who have never made the acquaintance of this incomparable detective and his colleague.

30 review for A Study in Scarlet and The Sign of Four

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nemo

    A Study in Scarlet is wonderful right up until the point where there's an entirely separate story wedged into the middle of it. I understand the relevance of having the perspective of the criminals, but I think ACD got a little carried away. I've never read this before, however, so to see the first ever meeting of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson was enjoyable, and seeing how they grow to each other. A Sign of the Four, on the other hand, is definitely my preferred of the two. Maybe I pay too much A Study in Scarlet is wonderful right up until the point where there's an entirely separate story wedged into the middle of it. I understand the relevance of having the perspective of the criminals, but I think ACD got a little carried away. I've never read this before, however, so to see the first ever meeting of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson was enjoyable, and seeing how they grow to each other. A Sign of the Four, on the other hand, is definitely my preferred of the two. Maybe I pay too much attention to and grow easily annoyed by plot holes, but there were clear mistakes in continuing from the previous book to this, not to mention the odd error throughout this story. But, as we only moved away from Holmes and Watson at the very end to discover the missing details of Sherlock's deductions, it was enjoyable, easy to get wrapped up in, and less complicated to follow. I have to admit, though, that I think picturing Holmes and Watson as Sherlock and John from 'Sherlock' helped get me through both of these stories, and picking out the bits that the modern day show updates and fits in was interesting to me. Over all, I thoroughly enjoyed both novels, despite the odd moments of struggling to get through parts, and I'll definitely be reading both again in future.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Louise

    Read a couple of years ago. Listening to the Derek Jacobi audiobooks now. Added thoughts on narration and such over at my blog: here and here Overall star rating: 3.5 A Study in Scarlet - 3 stars There are some truly brilliant parts of this novel, the growing relationship between Holmes and Watson, the interactions between Holmes and the police, the deductive reasoning that sees Holmes pulling solutions almost from thin air, the mystery itself...Why then only three stars? Well... once the myste Read a couple of years ago. Listening to the Derek Jacobi audiobooks now. Added thoughts on narration and such over at my blog: here and here Overall star rating: 3.5 A Study in Scarlet - 3 stars There are some truly brilliant parts of this novel, the growing relationship between Holmes and Watson, the interactions between Holmes and the police, the deductive reasoning that sees Holmes pulling solutions almost from thin air, the mystery itself...Why then only three stars? Well... once the mystery is solved – at around the halfway point - all those good enjoyable things that one reads a Holmes story for disappear and the narrative shifts into a third person account of the murderer’s backstory explaining his motives and relationship with his victims. It’s a jarring change and not really a very welcome one. After spending the first half of the book invested in the relationship between Holmes and Watson and being fascinated by the correct conclusions Holmes could leap to based on almost nothing, I didn’t particularly care to get invested in this second set of characters. The most explanation of motive I needed was a quick monologue from the murderer summarising the key points – not a multi-chapter epic of lost love. But a multi-chapter story-within-a-story was what I got, and it simply didn’t quite work. The third person narrative seemed awkward and ill-fitting with the rest of the book, which reads as a personal account told through the eyes of Dr Watson. If the Holmes canon is meant to be written by Dr Watson, then this section doesn’t quite fit – the information is a bit too detailed for someone who wasn’t there, even if they have received a second-hand account, and the tone is completely different from Watson’s bluff, amiable style of writing. I kept asking myself where this omnipotent narrator had come from and wondering when we could get back to Holmes and Watson. It didn’t help that none of the characters in this story-within-the-story were very interesting. There was a typical older mentor figure, his adopted daughter Lucy, and a rough handsome young hunter, all felt rather sketched in and none of the other characters were fleshed out even enough to be worth mentioning. The father was fatherly; the daughter was one of those annoying perky orphan kids who say things like ‘Oh! but why didn’t you tell me we were going to die? We can join mother then’ but eventually grows up into the most beautiful woman ever whilst still preserving her childish innocence and ‘charm’ (I use that term loosely); and the hunter was rough, young and handsome and well…you can totally see where that story is going, right? Insta-love! That’s right! Don’t you just love that trope? It’s all very disappointing and predictable, especially as the reader already knows what has to happen and already knows that Doyle is a much, much, better writer than this who can actually write fully developed characters because we’ve just cut away from them to read this second-rate part. I’ll be fair on Doyle though. This was his first Sherlock Holmes book and it didn’t actually receive any real attention until his short stories were already a hit and he had solidified his style and characters a bit more. When it’s good it’s very good, and he does learn from this mistake in future books. Dodgy flashbacks and inaccurate portrayals of Mormonism aside, it’s worth reading for Sherlock Holmes alone – the mystery is just icing on the cake. He’s a wonderfully real character, even as he manages almost inhuman feats of observation and deduction. He has his flaws – a rather superior attitude being the major one and very patchy knowledge on anything that doesn’t pertain to his own narrow interests in solving crime for another. He’s not ‘perfect’, he’s as occasionally frustrating and annoying as someone with superior skills really is but he is amazingly charismatic. (Watch as these traits change until he becomes a caricature of himself in future stories though). Now that many of his methods have been adopted both by the police and fictional detectives, you might think he would have lost some of his unique appeal – but I don’t think he has. The style of detective fiction may have shifted to ‘show the reader all the clues and see if they can work it out’, but Sherlock’s cold, calculated analysis of clues the reader (and Watson) weren’t even aware of until he mentions them, are still a joy to wonderful to read. So despite the low rating I really do think this is a worthwhile read. Just remember though; they do get better! (And then worse...) The Sign of the Four - 3.5 stars A much more satisfying read/listen than A Study in Scarlet and one that seems to have learnt from the truly dire mistake of that story. Whilst there is a flashback here to the antagonist’s past and the motivations for his actions, it’s a lot shorter told as a confession – with all the bias and slant to be expected in first person narration – and fits in almost seamlessly with the style of the rest of the story. Also in its favour is the fact that the backstory is a lot more interesting in its own right. But there’s a whole mystery to solve before we get to that part so I’ll backtrack towards the beginning. The Sign of the Four opens with the introduction – and actually one of the few mentions – of Sherlock Holmes cocaine habit and exploration into his psychology. It’s one of the things I love about Holmes that I don’t get with my otherwise beloved Poirot – he’s not just a thinking-machine but a complex person. He’s a man of extremes and, if he was non-fictional and alive today would probably be diagnosed with a serious form of mood disorder; if there’s an interesting crime he’ll be in the middle of a rush of activity but as soon as it’s solved he can flip, in an instant to lethargy and (then legal) drug abuse. At the start of the story he’s been in this lethargic, melancholy state for several months. Holmes is too clinically detached a character for him to be very likable or relatable on a personal level – even as someone who suffers from depression myself – but it does make him a more interesting and human character to read about than the earlier version in A Study in Scarlet. Following a pattern that becomes relatively common in the short stories Watson does his best to get Holmes out of this funk by prompting several small examples of Holmes’ deductive genius – that Watson had gone to a specific place earlier in the day, the family history of Watson’s pocket watch etc. etc. These mainly serve to either show or remind the reader of Holmes’ skill and competence before we get to the real mystery, and it works – though I have to say I do get a bit tired of the ‘this type of mud is only found in one place!’ solutions as they do seem a bit of a cheat and I don’t always agree with Holmes that his explanation is the only one, even if it is the most likely. However, it is only with the arrival of Mary Morstan and her strange story of her father, who disappeared several years ago, and the anonymous pearls she started receiving several years later, that Holmes snaps out of his lethargy and starts getting interested. Here again, you can see Doyle developing a framework used in later stories – the odd but seemingly but non-criminal story, that leads to something much darker and nastier than it first appears once untangled. Not that a mysteriously disappearing dad isn’t pretty dang dark, but that it isn’t a straight up simple crime such as being called to a murder scene – detective work needs to be done to even discover the crime in the first place. It’s a more complex, and arguably more interesting, device than the relatively straight forward plot to A Study in Scarlet and has the benefit of a more emotional core in trying to find the truth for a living character than A Study in Scarlet’s quest to identify the murderer of a character only introduced as a corpse. Of course Holmes gets the basics in about five minutes flat but it takes a while longer for the full story to be revealed, by which time the character’s have themselves a real crime to deal with and we get to the meat of the story. And the meat of the story…well it sounds almost Robert Louis Stevenson/’boys own adventure’ in places; wooden legs, stolen treasure, hidden murders, and exotic weapons. It’s got action and adventure tropes in spades – there’s even a chase sequence! But the mystery itself well… Holmes sums it up best himself when he says that normal everyday crimes that offer no distinctive clues are harder to solve than the big ones with lots of unusual elements are. And here there are so many clues; footprints, exotic weapons, poisoned darts, the motif of a man with a wooden leg. Holmes is hardly drawing his conclusions from small inconsequential elements – the basic story (ignoring specific backstory elements only the villain would know) is practically written over the crime scene for anyone with eyes and ears to draw conclusions from. But, of course, the police and Watson are both baffled, The backstory, when we get to it, though, is fascinating – perhaps more so to me because it focusses on a period of colonial history that I’ve studied; the India Mutiny of 1857. Even if you know nothing about it though it’s a more wonderful and exciting backdrop than Mormon Utah, and there’s a lot more going on than a few blokes all fancying the same girl. There are some, unpleasant, elements of exoticism and Victorian racial theory however – one apparently universally bloodthirsty and violent tribe is described as ‘naturally hideous’ by an anthropology textbook and ‘monstrous’ in appearance by the narrator. You’ve just got to grit your teeth and remember the time period if you find yourself being too annoyed. But there’s also an, admittedly not entirely sympathetic, depiction of Sikhs as being worth a white man’s loyalty that redeems it slightly (many Sikhs fought alongside the British in putting down the mutiny and they were favoured by the Victorian colonial regime set up afterwards). It’s a dark and brutal chapter of colonial/Indian history though that works as a perfect backdrop to the crime and sets a much better and more atmospheric tone for the whole book than is ever achieved in A Study in Scarlet. This book, as a whole, is simply more grown up in every way than its predecessor; the narrative issues have been ironed out, more humanity has been given to the characters, the tone is much more consistent, and there’s an emotional heart to the story. Now I don’t actually rate this emotional heart particularly highly or find it remotely necessary for this type of book – it consists of Watson rather fancying the female client and if there’s one thing Doyle isn’t good at, it’s romance – but it succeeds far better than the romantic insta-love storyline in A Study in Scarlet. This is a lot to do with the fact that we’re privy to Watson’s thoughts and understand his bias but mainly because Mary is a fundamentally more interesting, complex, and less annoying character than Lucy ever was. It may not be my favourite thread of the storyline but it doesn’t detract at all from my enjoyment of the rest of the book. It’s not a ‘perfect’ Holmes story – but the elements of the character and storytelling technique are still being introduced and developed. However you can see here, far more than in the first Sherlock Holmes book, why the Holmes stories took off the way they did. Random almost unrelated recommendation! The Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman – a victorian-set mystery novel that also features the India Mutiny as a key element of the backstory. Aimed at children/teenagers but an enjoyable read that features both a pretty awesome female protagonist and a female villain who isn’t a femme fatale.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Alex (The Scribe Owl)

    See this review and more at my blog, The Scribe Owl 3.5/5 stars This collection of the first two Sherlock Holmes books was a fantastic introduction to the characters Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has crafted. That said, it's very easy to tell that this is some of his early work. I read The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes a couple of years ago and liked it much more than these stories. I think one of the reasons I didn't like these as much as The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is because they were longer. Ye See this review and more at my blog, The Scribe Owl 3.5/5 stars This collection of the first two Sherlock Holmes books was a fantastic introduction to the characters Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has crafted. That said, it's very easy to tell that this is some of his early work. I read The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes a couple of years ago and liked it much more than these stories. I think one of the reasons I didn't like these as much as The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is because they were longer. Yes, that gave time for more plot, but sometimes Sir Arthur Conan Doyle took that too far. A Study in Scarlet had an entire story inside the story, for goodness sake! With this era of detective books, the genre was just blooming. But there is a lot of longwinded villain confessions. I'm talking 50 pages of the murderer explaining their whole life story. It gets old quickly, though it's definitely something likely to be fixed in the author's later work. All in all, this was a good start to the Sherlock Holmes stories. It dragged and twisted itself in knots at times, but it's still definitely worth a read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tina Rae

    Okay! So. A Study in Scarlet was a book club pick but since this is the copy I found, I just read both books. I'll review them both separately and then talk a little about how I felt about the ~collection as a whole! A Study in Scarlet- 4 Stars / Read April 30 So this was my first experience reading a Holmes novel! (Well, actually that's a lie. I had one of those massive Reader's Digest kid's condensed board book version things that I remember reading and enjoying. But no idea which stories I read Okay! So. A Study in Scarlet was a book club pick but since this is the copy I found, I just read both books. I'll review them both separately and then talk a little about how I felt about the ~collection as a whole! A Study in Scarlet- 4 Stars / Read April 30 So this was my first experience reading a Holmes novel! (Well, actually that's a lie. I had one of those massive Reader's Digest kid's condensed board book version things that I remember reading and enjoying. But no idea which stories I read. I just remember something about a snake???? That's it. That's all the information I retained, haha.) Anyway, I quite enjoyed this experience. Well. I enjoyed Part One of this experience. Part One was such a fun time. It was an extremely enjoyable case and I loved the first meeting of Holmes and Watson and their moving in together and getting to know each other. I am a huge fan of the BBC show so I loved comparing this to the episode in the show and seeing what the show kept and what it ~updated. So. That was a lot of fun. And then Part Two happened. And it honestly felt completely and totally unnecessary??? Like I get the point of it and I get that it was providing ~background but the story really didn't need it? At least not to that degree. It almost felt like we had wandered into an entirely different story and for a second I thought I was reading the wrong book. It just felt like a completely unnecessary tangent that could've been reduced to a page or two instead of 30. And it honestly diminished my enjoyment of a story that I had really been loving up until that point. So four stars for that one. The Sign of Four- 4 Stars / Read May 1-2 I ended up enjoying this one a little more than Study in Scarlet and connected with this case more purely because no weird tangent in the middle. I loved the introduction of Mary (though wow did things move quickly with John!) and overall I found this entire case fascinating. Mary is such a different character in the show and even in the RDJ films. It was so interesting to see the original and meet her in canon! Overall The only problem I had with these is that the writing is honestly really dry? Holmes is already such a dry character that the overly detailed writing often made my mind wonder. At first I thought it was the weird tangent but then when I read Sign of Four, it took me way longer to finish it than it should've even though I was enjoying the story more. I wish I hadn't read both of these books together. I think I would've had better luck with them if I'd taken some time between the stories. I've read a lot of detective novels so I can't help but compare them to others. I'm used to devouring Agatha Christies and Poirot is the world's most entertaining detective (he constantly makes me giggle and I absolutely cannot get enough of him!) so I think that might be why I struggled with this writing? It's a lot more dry and chock full of details. I felt my mind wandering a lot and would have to reread passages because I hadn't been paying attention. So I think this is just going to take a little bit of getting used to. It's not that I don't enjoy Holmes because I definitely do! I love the show and I think Holmes is a wonderful and fascinating character and I really am enjoying reading these. I just think the writing is going to take a few books for me to really get into it and be able to read these a little easier. (Which I just bought the complete collection today so I'll be spending a lot of times with Holmes, haha.) I definitely recommend these! If you're a fan of the show or any of the films, definitely go back to the source. These are so fun and definitely worth the read!! I can't wait to continue with this series! (Just going to put a few books between them and hope that helps my enjoyment!)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ozana Ozzy

    A Study in Scarlet This is first story of ACD's Sherlock Holmes mystery where Holmes and Watson first time meet each other and throuoghout story we see their relationship growing. Also we meet few characters which are present in almost all Holmes cases because he's independent investigater and his work is in interaction with police, detective Lestrade and we witness his deductive reasoning, he is so proud of that part of his way of thinking that sometimes he's so proccupied with his own greatnes A Study in Scarlet This is first story of ACD's Sherlock Holmes mystery where Holmes and Watson first time meet each other and throuoghout story we see their relationship growing. Also we meet few characters which are present in almost all Holmes cases because he's independent investigater and his work is in interaction with police, detective Lestrade and we witness his deductive reasoning, he is so proud of that part of his way of thinking that sometimes he's so proccupied with his own greatness especially when he finds solution, clues, guilty parties almost from no clue what so ever but Sir Arthur Conan Doyle describes it so vividly that reader is left satisfied and convinced. Study in Scarlet was split in two part but second part where Watson describes story in third person is unnecessery because in first part case is well written and presented with great Holmses deductive reasoning and interaction with his new co-lodger and associete Dr Watson, also great interaction with police. But it's a first ACD's story and any mistake he made he corrected it in stories that follows and he did it brilliantly, as we all know it. Holmes character is not perfect, far from it, but what he does with informations and than transforms it into reasonable conclueson -vit is like a work of art, art of deduction, as he call it. His cold, calculated analasys of clues puts us readers in position where we constantly wonder how we miss it and with this way of telling the stories we are never bored and we grow to love that man full of flaws but with brilliant mind. Doyle descibes his great fictional character of all times so humanly despite his annoying habbits and flows. No wonder that even today we enjoy watching and reading all kind of varitions of modern Holmes and Watson with great joy. The Sign of the Four Second story starts with Sherlock's "questionable" habit of abuse of drugs, videly spread in that time in late 19 st. London with Chinese opium rooms and medicinal solutions of morphine and cocaine that Holmes was (ab)useing but on ly becuse his mind was still and he must keep it alert when he has no case. Whit that intro we have insight into his psychology and with that flaws and bad habits I expirience him as real person with all his compexity. Study in Scarlet is complex story with haevy past full of human greed and guilt, well described with miniscule details such as missing dad ( a chidhood ago), strange secret pearls, invitations, oriental back story...so many details and clues but eventialy Holmes puts it all missing pieces together into one coherent story with conlusion however hard it may be after so many years had passed. Sign of Four is so much darker, full of secrets and greed but also full of emotions with Watson's infatuation in a female client. Holmes is of course oblivious to romantic part of Watson's feelings. Doyle isn't a master of romance but it's a mystery and not a romance/detective novel. This two stories are not Doyles bet short ones but eventualy they become so much better. They Short story/case studys introduces us with his great character and his phsihologhical profile of Holmes and Watsons personal history and boths way of life, living together and working. .

  6. 4 out of 5

    Heather's Mum

    In spite of the indulgence of illogical character development and basic deduction flaws in Doyle's first Sherlock novels, they are, in my opinion, still priceless literature. The novels, irregardless of the inconsistencies, are wonderfully woven with threads of colorful clues in varied intensity of terror, keen observation, "elementary" deduction and incredible chain of reasoning... including elimination. ".. when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be In spite of the indulgence of illogical character development and basic deduction flaws in Doyle's first Sherlock novels, they are, in my opinion, still priceless literature. The novels, irregardless of the inconsistencies, are wonderfully woven with threads of colorful clues in varied intensity of terror, keen observation, "elementary" deduction and incredible chain of reasoning... including elimination. ".. when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?" Bear in mind that these early work "bumps" were ironed out eventually in the subsequent canonical story lines as the characters & plots were refined. Holmes, although a confessed cocaine & morphine addict, truly became a extraordinary logician. No one could question the devotion & confidence of Dr Watson toward the detective, nor would anyone doubt the cunning evil of Professor Moriarty. In these first novels, Sir Doyle builds the very foundation for the brilliant sleuth & his loyal companion. Although fictional and from another era, the character has much to impart to "good-readers" of today. In the "The Adventure of the Lion's Mane", Holmes attributes his success, in part, to and describes himself as “an omnivorous reader with a strangely retentive memory for trifles”.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jo

    I don't normally go for classics but I love the show Sherlock and really felt like I should read this. I wasn't disappointed. After reading Dracula I had kind of sworn off classics but this one was much more interesting and just modern enough for me to get on with the writing and the old speak. The stories are short and not as complex as the show makes them but I love Sherlock Holmes, the book character and the TV character. He is so strange but clever and I enjoyed reading this. I'm not in a ru I don't normally go for classics but I love the show Sherlock and really felt like I should read this. I wasn't disappointed. After reading Dracula I had kind of sworn off classics but this one was much more interesting and just modern enough for me to get on with the writing and the old speak. The stories are short and not as complex as the show makes them but I love Sherlock Holmes, the book character and the TV character. He is so strange but clever and I enjoyed reading this. I'm not in a rush to read the others but I am glad that I picked this one up.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    HORRIBLY ignorant, to an almost amusing extent. If it wasn't so absurd, I'd probably have been offended. :) Most people only read the first half of the book... you have to read the second half to see why this is my opinion. HORRIBLY ignorant, to an almost amusing extent. If it wasn't so absurd, I'd probably have been offended. :) Most people only read the first half of the book... you have to read the second half to see why this is my opinion.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tam May

    This is classic Sherlock Holmes, of course, and interesting in that it's the first and second of the Holmes stories so we get an introduction of the characters involved. One thing I've found so far in reading Conan Doyle's books as opposed to seeing various film and TV versions of his stories - Holmes is a much less likable character and much more complex in the books than on screen. In contrast, Watson, to me, is much more likable in the book than on screen, given his credit for astute observer This is classic Sherlock Holmes, of course, and interesting in that it's the first and second of the Holmes stories so we get an introduction of the characters involved. One thing I've found so far in reading Conan Doyle's books as opposed to seeing various film and TV versions of his stories - Holmes is a much less likable character and much more complex in the books than on screen. In contrast, Watson, to me, is much more likable in the book than on screen, given his credit for astute observer and not the buffoon that many of the screen versions make him out to be. Of course, plausibility is scarce in these stories as they were in many of the classic traditional mysteries but half the fun of reading these stories is to be willing to believe the implausible for the sake of unraveling the mystery and making it "come out right".

  10. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Rollins

    I LOVED A Study in Scarlet. I did not love The Sign of the Four. A Study in Scarlet had such a simple yet extremely interesting storyline, and we got to see Holmes' intelligence, wit, and humor. I felt like The Sign of the Four had such a different feel, taking the light away from Holmes and focusing it on Jonathan Small, an unlikable character and accomplice in the mystery. I was also disappointed to learn Holmes is a cocaine addict- I'm curious to see how this plays out in hope of learning why I LOVED A Study in Scarlet. I did not love The Sign of the Four. A Study in Scarlet had such a simple yet extremely interesting storyline, and we got to see Holmes' intelligence, wit, and humor. I felt like The Sign of the Four had such a different feel, taking the light away from Holmes and focusing it on Jonathan Small, an unlikable character and accomplice in the mystery. I was also disappointed to learn Holmes is a cocaine addict- I'm curious to see how this plays out in hope of learning why Doyle chose this particular character flaw for his main character.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte Jones

    I was listening to the complete collection on audiobook but for some reason my phone won't play it anymore so I'm adding what I completed individually! I liked these two novels but I do feel that I was too familiar with the premises, thanks to the BBC show, so this did take away the element of mystery for me. I was listening to the complete collection on audiobook but for some reason my phone won't play it anymore so I'm adding what I completed individually! I liked these two novels but I do feel that I was too familiar with the premises, thanks to the BBC show, so this did take away the element of mystery for me.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Laurissa Gordon

    Soooooo good!!!!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Marie

    Wanted to try reading some Sherlock and did enjoy this. I find the characters interesting and will probably read more of this series.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Oscar Owen

    I was quite shocked that I’d never read a Sherlock Holmes book before and on the recommendation of a friend, I gave this a go and I’m glad I did! I was worried it was going to fall into the trope of most 19th Century/early 20th Century literature and be filled with a million words without going anywhere but I was pleasantly surprised at just how easily the stories flowed and grip the reader to the point that it makes it hard to put down. I know that these aren’t the ‘best’ Sherlock Holmes storie I was quite shocked that I’d never read a Sherlock Holmes book before and on the recommendation of a friend, I gave this a go and I’m glad I did! I was worried it was going to fall into the trope of most 19th Century/early 20th Century literature and be filled with a million words without going anywhere but I was pleasantly surprised at just how easily the stories flowed and grip the reader to the point that it makes it hard to put down. I know that these aren’t the ‘best’ Sherlock Holmes stories and in that respect I’m very excited as these were very enjoyable as an entry to this series and I’m looking forward to reading some more

  15. 4 out of 5

    Chris Infanti

    And things were going so well until the Mormons showed up... I was inspired to give the original Conan Doyle stories a try after watching the latest season of the BBC's spectacular Sherlock series...and figured, what better place to start than the beginning? And for the first half of A Study In Scarlet, I have to admit I was completely engrossed. The mystery itself wasn't too interesting (and it turns out, impossible to solve for the reader since it ends up being some random guy Holmes reveals at And things were going so well until the Mormons showed up... I was inspired to give the original Conan Doyle stories a try after watching the latest season of the BBC's spectacular Sherlock series...and figured, what better place to start than the beginning? And for the first half of A Study In Scarlet, I have to admit I was completely engrossed. The mystery itself wasn't too interesting (and it turns out, impossible to solve for the reader since it ends up being some random guy Holmes reveals at the end of Part 1), but the characterization of Sherlock, Watson, and their relationship, even in this early state, makes it clear why it's been such a rich source of inspiration for literature, film, and TV over the years. But then...after the murderer is revealed, the story jumps into an extended flashback sequence in Utah where you follow Brigham Young around, which I assume ties into the story somehow, but I couldn't get through it and just quit (turns out my tolerance for powering through a book is lowered even more when it's one I got for free via public domain). I'm guessing that there must be some later stories from the canon that are better examples of how great the series can be than willing to hear suggestions of what to read next, but for now, taking a break.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Eduan Slabbert

    The original two adventures as penned by the great Sir Arthur Conan Doyle are definitely a superb example of the greatness of mysteries and Sherlock Holmes' "singular" skill at resolving them. I confess to liking the longer stories more than the later shorter adventures, but I understand they mean more stories to tell in the same time and space. Glad to finally tick off some of the items on my long list of must read classics, and can honestly say, thank you very very much, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle! The original two adventures as penned by the great Sir Arthur Conan Doyle are definitely a superb example of the greatness of mysteries and Sherlock Holmes' "singular" skill at resolving them. I confess to liking the longer stories more than the later shorter adventures, but I understand they mean more stories to tell in the same time and space. Glad to finally tick off some of the items on my long list of must read classics, and can honestly say, thank you very very much, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Selena Reiss

    A Study in Scarlet - 3 stars The Sign of the Four - 3 stars

  18. 4 out of 5

    Keith Davis

    There is a scene in chapter one of the Sign of the Four that shines a light on the absurdity of how Sherlock Holmes solves crimes. The first step of Holmes' method is to have ludicrous amounts of detailed information about every topic at instantaneous recall. Second, you have to accept that definitive conclusions can be drawn based on casual observations and an encyclopedic knowledge of everything. Watson enters their apartment and Holmes observes that Watson sent a telegraph at the post office There is a scene in chapter one of the Sign of the Four that shines a light on the absurdity of how Sherlock Holmes solves crimes. The first step of Holmes' method is to have ludicrous amounts of detailed information about every topic at instantaneous recall. Second, you have to accept that definitive conclusions can be drawn based on casual observations and an encyclopedic knowledge of everything. Watson enters their apartment and Holmes observes that Watson sent a telegraph at the post office on Wigmore Street. Holmes points out that he recognizes the dirt on Watson's shoe and it can only be found in a particular London neighborhood and since there is construction outside the post office Watson must have gone there. If Holmes had suggested that Watson had been to Belgium because he recognized the dirt on his shoe I might have believed it, but I refuse to believe that the dirt in various London streets is so unique that it can be identified without a microscope. Secondly Holmes claims to have deduced that Watson sent a telegram based on his observations. Deduction means you have removed all other options and there is no other explanation remaining. What Holmes is doing is induction not deduction. He has proposed a plausible explanation but there are other possible explanations. Everything definitive thing Holmes claims to deduce is actually just a possible explanation based on casual observations and inductive reasoning. Doyle is a very talented mystery writer and his stories are always entertaining, although Study in Scarlet has a massive digression in which half the novel turns into a Western set in Utah with a bunch of evil Mormons. I enjoy Doyle's writing, but it bugs me sometimes that people aspire to Holmes' level of brilliant deduction when Doyle had to know it was all smoke and mirrors.

  19. 5 out of 5

    K L

    Thoughts on… A Study in Scarlet The first ever Sherlock Holmes story. I really quite liked this murder mystery. I enjoyed Dr Watson’s point of view in the first half and the way he looked at unfolding events and of course at Sherlock Holmes and his brilliant, but at times naive, mind. . This was my first experience of Arthur Conan Doyle’s writing and I have to say I really liked it. The second half of A Study in Scarlet surprised me, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. It was interesting to get the murde Thoughts on… A Study in Scarlet The first ever Sherlock Holmes story. I really quite liked this murder mystery. I enjoyed Dr Watson’s point of view in the first half and the way he looked at unfolding events and of course at Sherlock Holmes and his brilliant, but at times naive, mind. . This was my first experience of Arthur Conan Doyle’s writing and I have to say I really liked it. The second half of A Study in Scarlet surprised me, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. It was interesting to get the murderer’s point of view and suddenly there was this grey area. Thoughts on… The Sign of the Four I think I actually preferred this tale slightly. I preferred the mystery, despite the 1800s casual racism that featured in it. The characters were interesting, the slight romance was subtle and matter-a-fact and I enjoyed the fact that there was a chase! Conclusion: I enjoyed this first experience of Sherlock Holmes. I guess they were pretty much as expected and it is clear to see why their popularity has endured. The stories were easily digestible and clever, but also pretty fun. Despite the fact they were written in the 1880s, for the most part they felt surprisingly timeless (casual racism aside). I am pretty likely to read some more in the future.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Donald Trump (Parody)

    I only read this cause I thought it might help with the investigation about that backstabbing hack-job in the Times. Big mistake! Sleepy Sherlock is so coked out he can’t even solve a parking violation, let alone a big mystery like this. I never touched that crap in my life, clean livin' all the way like my buddy Vince, and besides, there’s no way to get the stuff into this snake pit, not with that NARC Dr. Lipshitz breathing down my neck 24/7. I tell ya, sometimes I wonder if I made a mistake c I only read this cause I thought it might help with the investigation about that backstabbing hack-job in the Times. Big mistake! Sleepy Sherlock is so coked out he can’t even solve a parking violation, let alone a big mystery like this. I never touched that crap in my life, clean livin' all the way like my buddy Vince, and besides, there’s no way to get the stuff into this snake pit, not with that NARC Dr. Lipshitz breathing down my neck 24/7. I tell ya, sometimes I wonder if I made a mistake canning old Harry Bornstein, yeah the guy had loose lips but he knew how to have a good time, believe you me. After I figured out Arthur Conan Dullsville here wouldn’t give us any leads I told Pete we gotta turn up the heat if we’re ever gonna fry whatever commie swamp rat wrote that article. I’ve got him reading every email that’s gone in or out of this place in the last year, and he’s gonna come straight to me if he finds anything suspicious. Yeah it took some doing, I mean the guy’s only a floor-mopper after all, but who’s gonna say no to me? I’m the fuckin’ PRESIDENT!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tara Sydney

    What a wild ride Sherlock Holmes mysteries are. They are both intriguing and amusing at the same time. I think I preferred A Study in Scarlet over The Sign of the Four. I think the introduction of John Watson to Sherlock Holmes was wonderful, in Scarlet, and the backstory for the mystery was quite intriguing, even when I was wondering what exactly was happening when we jumped back in time to a different continent seemingly out of nowhere. Though these stories are considered classics, and definite What a wild ride Sherlock Holmes mysteries are. They are both intriguing and amusing at the same time. I think I preferred A Study in Scarlet over The Sign of the Four. I think the introduction of John Watson to Sherlock Holmes was wonderful, in Scarlet, and the backstory for the mystery was quite intriguing, even when I was wondering what exactly was happening when we jumped back in time to a different continent seemingly out of nowhere. Though these stories are considered classics, and definitely show the time period in which they were crafted, I think the humour and intellect with which they are written are definitely quite relatable and entertaining. I will always enjoy Sherlock Holmes as a character, as I believe him to be quite an amusing and unique one, especially given that any character of modern works that is similar to him, is likely, in some way, fashioned after him.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jessie Kalos

    My only critique for this was that A study in scarlet really dragged on in the middle, when they had the American flashback chapters. I didn’t think there needed to be such detail on this one character that is minimal to the story, and I didn’t like that Holmes and Watson weren’t in them at all. The sign of the four on the other hand was full of hidden gems, murder, treasure, and adventure. I enjoyed every minute of it! I will always be a fan of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, and I can’t wait to My only critique for this was that A study in scarlet really dragged on in the middle, when they had the American flashback chapters. I didn’t think there needed to be such detail on this one character that is minimal to the story, and I didn’t like that Holmes and Watson weren’t in them at all. The sign of the four on the other hand was full of hidden gems, murder, treasure, and adventure. I enjoyed every minute of it! I will always be a fan of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, and I can’t wait to keep reading the series!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Becca's Bookish Blog (beccas_bookish_blog)

    A Study in Scarlet ⭐⭐⭐⭐ A study in Scarlet introduces the famous Sherlock Holmes to Dr John Watson. The two consult on a murder case that the policr are struggling to solve! I quite liked A Study in Scarlet, it was great to finally read how Sherlock and Watson meet for the first time! I enjoyed trying to figure out who the murder was, how they did it, and why! The style of writing was easy to read (even though it's a 'classic'!!) too and I loved the fact everything was explained clearly! I dont know A Study in Scarlet ⭐⭐⭐⭐ A study in Scarlet introduces the famous Sherlock Holmes to Dr John Watson. The two consult on a murder case that the policr are struggling to solve! I quite liked A Study in Scarlet, it was great to finally read how Sherlock and Watson meet for the first time! I enjoyed trying to figure out who the murder was, how they did it, and why! The style of writing was easy to read (even though it's a 'classic'!!) too and I loved the fact everything was explained clearly! I dont know whether I watched too much of Sherlock Holmes films/TV shows, but I felt a little underwhelmed by A Study in Scarlet. Nothing was 'explosive' or surprising for me All in all, I'd recommend reading if you like or are intrigued by Sherlock Holmes! Or even if you like a little mystery 😀

  24. 4 out of 5

    Emilie Van Ex

    I really liked the philosophical touch in Doyle's work. He quoted Goethe a few times and wrote sentences such as "the country was a perfect hell" and " 'Someone calls him (man) a soul concealed in an animal' ". He also adds a literary touch to his work with quotes from Nicolas Boileau, Stendhal and Horace. I did not expect to find these aspects in his work, which made me enjoy reading it even more. I really liked the philosophical touch in Doyle's work. He quoted Goethe a few times and wrote sentences such as "the country was a perfect hell" and " 'Someone calls him (man) a soul concealed in an animal' ". He also adds a literary touch to his work with quotes from Nicolas Boileau, Stendhal and Horace. I did not expect to find these aspects in his work, which made me enjoy reading it even more.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kyra Schaffer

    Upon reading two out of the sixty Sherlock Holmes stories, I came to enjoy Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's first novels of A Study in Scarlet, published 1887, and The Sign of Four, published 1890. I think that if you are a person who can a great mystery as well as a great classic, then I think you can really appreciate there two novels. Our favorite consulting detective, Sherlock Holmes, known for his powers of observation and ability to draw logical conclusions, makes his first appearance, along with Upon reading two out of the sixty Sherlock Holmes stories, I came to enjoy Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's first novels of A Study in Scarlet, published 1887, and The Sign of Four, published 1890. I think that if you are a person who can a great mystery as well as a great classic, then I think you can really appreciate there two novels. Our favorite consulting detective, Sherlock Holmes, known for his powers of observation and ability to draw logical conclusions, makes his first appearance, along with his partner Dr. John Watson, the rational and calm ex-military solider, in A Study in Scarlet. A thrilling tale of a man mysteriously murdered with no sign of weapon or injury is a simple enough case for Holmes, but this mystery goes deeper than it seems involving a love lost man, named Jefferson Hope, and his hunger for vengeance on the man who ruined his life. This novel has the perfect introduction of the famous detective and his skills of deduction and his overall cleverness. Doyle showcases a growing friendship, murder, and a vengeful man. Holmes and Watson return in the second novel of the Sherlock Holmes series, The Sign of Four. A women, by the name of Mary Morstan, seeks the help of Sherlock Holmes of a troubling mystery of her dead father and rich that are sent her way. Holmes soon finds out that this mystery is more than is seems. A man named Johnathan Small, the wooden-legged man whom seeks vengeance on the man who broke his word and stole his treasure.This amazing novel is not only a classic but a pleasure to read. Doyle is a straightforward and clear writer. The subject matter is interesting, and the plot is fast-paced. With staunch friendship, blossoming romance, and lost treasure. You can't ask for much more from a mystery novel. Since I read two of Doyle's novels, I could get two different views on the two stories. They are both good and bad in their own way, in which A Study in Scarlet focused more on Holmes and Watson's meeting and introducing Holmes's skills as a consulting detective, but half way through the main story switches very abruptly to "Mormons in America", which is what I call Jefferson Hopes's story for why he did everything. Another thing, Hope isn't even mentioned until the very last parts of plot switch. I would have been fine with it, however, Doyle basically had Hope tell pretty much the same story just way more summarized, with a few added details, when he is confessing to the police. In The Sign of Four Doyle just has Jonathan Small tell his story, instead of having the criminal's account just in the middle of the novel, to Holmes, which was a better choice that Doyle made. The Sign of Four had the classic mystery story of murder and treasure and vengeance, which was refreshing to have such cliches in the novel, as well as Doyle's unique ideas scattered throughout. However there were major plot holes in the story concerning to the clues that Holmes found and still managed to find the culprit with. The way that Doyle portrayed Holmes's methods and his way of thinking for each mind bending mystery through Watson's eyes seemed unique and kept me interested, and illustrating the criminals' motivations for their crimes in two distinct ways in both novels irritated me as well as entertaining me with the stories of each criminal. One thing that Doyle could have considered in The Sign of Four is working in the criminal's story throughout the novel rather than all at once. I am usually someone who enjoys getting deeper into the story and finding out more about the characters. I believe my negative reaction to the criminals' stories, in both novels, has something to do with the fact that this part of the story comes after the mystery is 'solved'. It feels kind of anticlimactic to learn more about the motivation behind the crime after the action is all played out. There are many themes that are present throughout the Sherlock Holmes stories, but there were two in particular that caught my eye which were unique to the two novels. In A Study in Scarlet, a theme that was constantly present through the story was the ineffectiveness of the police. Even though Holmes respects the police, he does not believe that their habits of making the wrong assumptions and going to conclusions too quickly it is a result of missing the most important details at the crime scene and accusing the wrong man. Therefore, Doyle demonstrates Holmes's is keen intellect and unique abilities exalt him higher above the regular police force. In The Sign of Four, the theme of wealth was negative towards pretty much everyone. The Agra treasure affects everyone in negative ways. Some are fearing for their lives of being killed for the treasure and others are killed for their own greed. Overall I did enjoy reading Doyle's first Sherlock Holmes novels. I had been a fan of the Sherlock Holmes series on BBC fir quite awhile and that is what initially made want to read the original novels. I really enjoyed how there were very similar components and extremely different ones between the novels and show. The novels are truly classics and whenever I hear or read about something about a Sherlock Holmes case and how he did it, it always gets me thinking on if this were real life I would if someone could have the capacity of the same intuition as the character Sherlock Holmes.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Callie

    { “There’s a scarlet thread of murder running through the colorless skein of life, and our duty is to unravel it, and isolate it, and expose every inch of it.” } my first completed Homes novel and I freaking love these!!! So engaging and clever and witty and so very very British. Long live Sherlock Holmes and the wonderful world of 221B Baker Street ❤️

  27. 5 out of 5

    ☽ alexandra ☾

    3.75⭐ I love Victorian era and true crime so you can guess why I needed to read it. I enjoyed the Study in Charlotte a bit more than the second story, but as a whole book it worked great as well. And honestly Sherlock's ego is higher than Empire State Building, that's all I have to say about this. :D 3.75⭐ I love Victorian era and true crime so you can guess why I needed to read it. I enjoyed the Study in Charlotte a bit more than the second story, but as a whole book it worked great as well. And honestly Sherlock's ego is higher than Empire State Building, that's all I have to say about this. :D

  28. 5 out of 5

    David Simon

    I wouldn’t have paired these two books together, as I definitely would have left A Study in Scarlet as a stand alone(I know it can be found that way, but don’t pair it with any other book period). The story was amazing and unlike any other Sherlock Holmes story I have read.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Fiona

    The prose is clunky and does not flow well. I'm going to stick to television/movie versions of Sherlock, thanks. The prose is clunky and does not flow well. I'm going to stick to television/movie versions of Sherlock, thanks.

  30. 4 out of 5

    BookLovingLady

    I never bought, or read, a Sherlock Holmes story before because when I watched them on television over the years, they just weren't able to keep me interested. But when the BBC started to broadcast a modern version of the stories, with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, it suddenly did become interesting :-) So much so that I even decided to buy my very first Sherlock Holmes story. And I haven't regretted it. In both stories the murderer gives the reason for the murder(s), which made it so I never bought, or read, a Sherlock Holmes story before because when I watched them on television over the years, they just weren't able to keep me interested. But when the BBC started to broadcast a modern version of the stories, with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, it suddenly did become interesting :-) So much so that I even decided to buy my very first Sherlock Holmes story. And I haven't regretted it. In both stories the murderer gives the reason for the murder(s), which made it so much more interesting for me to read.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...