Again, like A Study in Scarlet before it, The Sign of Four met with some critical success, and the public seemed to enjoy the story of the consulting detective. Conan Doyle was not particularly enamoured with the terms of the commissioning, and would subsequently write the Sherlock Holmes stories for the Strand Magazine, where their popularity would increase exponentially. Critics argue that it is too long, and therefore longwinded in parts; and is more of a treasure hunt than a detective novel.
Plot[ edit ] The story is set in It presents the detective's drug habit and humanizes him in a way that had not been done in the preceding novel, A Study in Scarlet It also introduces Doctor Watson 's future wife, Mary Morstan.
According to Mary, in Decemberher father had telegraphed her upon his safe return from India and requested her to meet him at the Langham Hotel in London. When Mary arrived at the hotel, she was told her father had gone out the previous night and not returned. Despite all efforts, no trace has ever been found of him.
Mary contacted her father's only friend who was in the same regiment and had since retired to England, one Major John Sholto, but he denied knowing her father had returned.
The second puzzle is that she has received six pearls in the mail from an anonymous benefactor, one per year since after answering an anonymous newspaper query inquiring for her. With the last pearl she received a letter remarking that she has been wronged and asking for a meeting.
Holmes takes the case and soon discovers that Major Sholto Book report the sign of four died in and that within a short span of time Mary began to receive the pearls, implying a connection.
Holmes, Watson, and Mary meet Thaddeus Sholto, the son of the late Major Sholto and the anonymous sender of the pearls. Thaddeus confirms the Major had seen Mary's father the night he died; they had arranged a meeting to divide a priceless treasure Sholto had brought home from India. While quarrelling over the treasure, Captain Morstan—long in weak health—suffered a heart attack.
Not wanting to bring attention to the object of the quarrel—and also worried that circumstances would suggest that he had killed Morstan in an argument, particularly since Morstan's head struck a table as he fell—Sholto disposed of the body and hid the treasure.
However, he himself suffered from poor health and an enlarged spleen possibly due to malariaas a quinine bottle stands by his bed. His own health became worse when he received a letter from India in early Dying, he called his two sons and confessed to Morstan's death and was about to divulge the location of the treasure when he suddenly cried, "Keep him out!
The puzzled sons glimpsed a face in the window, but the only trace was a single footstep in the dirt. On their father's body is a note reading "The Sign of Four". Both brothers quarrelled over whether a legacy should be left to Mary Morstan, and Thaddeus left his brother Bartholomew, taking a chaplet and sending its pearls to Mary.
The reason he sent the letter is that Bartholomew has found the treasure and possibly Thaddeus and Mary might confront him for a division of it. Bartholomew is found dead in his home from a poison dart and the treasure is missing.
While the police wrongly take Thaddeus in as a suspect, Holmes deduces that there are two persons involved in the murder: He traces them to a boat landing where Small has hired a steam launch named the Aurora.
With the help of dog Toby that he sends Watson to collect from Mr Sherman, the Baker Street Irregulars and his own disguise, Holmes traces the steam launch. In a police steam launch Holmes and Watson chase the Aurora and capture it, but in the process end up killing the "small" companion after he attempts to kill Holmes with a poisoned dart shot from a blow-pipe.
Small tries to escape but is captured. However, the iron treasure box is empty; Small claims to have dumped the treasure over the side during the chase. Small confesses that years before he was a soldier of the Third Buffs in India and lost his right leg in a swimming accident to a crocodile.
After some time, when he was an overseer on a tea plantationthe Indian Rebellion of occurred and he was forced to flee for his life to the Agra fortress.
While standing guard one night he was overpowered by two Sikh troopers who gave him a choice of being killed or being an accomplice to waylaying a disguised servant of a Rajah who sent the servant with a valuable fortune in pearls and jewels to the British for safekeeping.
The robbery and murder took place and the crime was discovered, although the jewels were not. Small got penal servitude on the Andaman Islandsand after twenty years he overheard that John Sholto had lost money gambling. Small saw his chance and made a deal with Sholto and Arthur Morstan: Sholto would recover the treasure and in return send a boat to pick up Small and the Sikhs.
Sholto double-crossed both Morstan and Small and stole the treasure for himself. Small vowed vengeance and escaped the Andaman Islands with an islander named Tonga. It was the news of his escape that shocked Sholto into his fatal illness. Small arrived too late to hear of the treasure's location but left the note which referred to the name of the pact between himself and his three Sikh accomplices.The Sign of the Four begins rather controversially with Holmes engaging in the then-legal pastime of cocaine injections, much to Watson’s disapproval.
Mary Morstan, a single young woman who desires Holmes’ advice, soon visits the two. Dec 29, · Title: The Sign of Four (TV Movie ) / Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site?
Use the HTML below/10(K). The Sign of Four is usually placed second to The Hound of the Baskervilles () and solidly ahead of A Study in Scarlet (, serial; , book) and The Valley of Fear (). Now she has received a mysterious letter asking her to meet an “unknown friend”.
She asks for Holmes and Watson to help her and the adventure begins. As the story evolves we come across mysterious notes with “the sign of the four”. Murder, treasure, and intrigue abound in The Sign of the Four/5. Plot Summary of The Sign of Four. Updated on May 18, Colin Quartermain.
more. Colin has been reading as long as he can remember, and the works of Conan Doyle were some of the early works that kept him reading. The Sign of Four book cover. Cover of book The Sign of the Four - PD-life | Source. Free kindle book and epub digitized and proofread by Project Gutenberg.