Monday, March 16, 2015

The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle

Sherlock Holmes took his bottle from the corner of the mantelpiece, and his hypodermic syringe from its neat morocco case. With his long, white, nervous fingers he adjusted the delicate needle and rolled back his left shirt-cuff. For some little time his eyes rested thoughtfully upon the sinewy forearm and wrist, all dotted and scarred with innumerable puncture-marks. Finally, he thrust the sharp point home, pressed down the tiny piston, and sank back into the velvet-lined armchair with a long sigh of satisfaction. 

Thus begins our opening chapter in Arthur Conan Doyle's second book in the Sherlock Holmes series. You have to admire the authors daring when he had his iconic detective shoot up cocaine in a effort to cure his boredom. I feel that this insight adds to the character of Sherlock Holmes. He is a genius, with unnatural observational and deduction skills that serve him as a detective. On the case he is focused and driven, off the case he appears to be unable to be alone with his thoughts and administers cocaine as a way of coping with his boredom and lack of interest in life.

"The division seems rather unfair," I remarked. "You have done all the work in this business. I get a wife out of it, Jones gets the credit, pray what remains for you?".
"For me," said Sherlock Holmes, "there still remains the cocaine-bottle." And he stretched his long white hand up for it.

Personally his anti hero character draws me in. It is rather fun in a way to enter the brilliant and seemly inhuman mind of Sherlock Holmes.

In this story we also have the villains of course. A wooden legged man and his sidekick of whom is a savage dwarf from the bushman tribes in Africa. He is described as having hideous features, a bulbous head, and dainty little baby feet. We also have the homeless network. Sherlock Holmes homeless network consists of street boys in which he uses as his eyes and ears. After all as Sherlock himself says, they are seen and yet unseen.

My rating :  *****

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