Sign of the Four
The Thames takes a fortune, Watson takes a wife and Holmes takes to the needle.
Abbreviation (J. F. Christ, 1947): SIGN
Word length (C. E. Lauterbach, 1960): 43,372
First published: Lippincott's Magazine, February 1890. First
book edition: Spencer Blackett, 1890. First American edition: P. F. Collier,
1891 (a piracy).
A note about the title
The original manuscript uses "The Sign of the Four" (right), but
that's not Arthur Conan Doyle's writing, so who knows how authoritative it
Lippincott's magazine followed that reading, but the early
book editions went with The Sign of the Four. Modern editions vary:
Doubleday uses the four-word
title, Oxford the five-word title.
Text available on-line
Links of interest
summary from McMurdo's Camp
by Thomas R. Hanratty
"Simple," I ejaculated.
Sherlock Holmes in India
Red Fort at Agra
Magazine, Marvels of the Mughals, including the Red Fort at Agra
Attention Deficit Disorder in SIGN
Redmond's Delicate Question
First half: "Our quest does not appear to take us to very fashionable
regions," says Sherlock Holmes. This tale is -- unlike many others in the
Canon -- essentially about the middle class and the suburbs, rather than
the older parts of London with which Sherlock Holmes is usually associated.
What attitudes does it take?
Second half: "It is a romance!" cried Mrs. Forrester. "An injured
lady, half a million in treasure, a black cannibal, and a wooden-legged
ruffian." Is The Sign of the Four so well-loved by readers of
Sherlock Holmes because of these exotic elements, or in spite of them?
View Halloa", by Rosemary Michaud
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