Friday, April 3, 2009

The Sign of the Four

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Sign of the Four is a much more ordinary Sherlock Holmes than the first one was.

It is a story of greed which destroys several people. There are two main things about this book. Holmes' addiction to cocaine is quite explicit, and in the book Watson finds a love interest.

Holmes uses cocaine out of boredom. At least that's the excuse he gives himself.

This is the story of a stolen secret treasure. Again the story spills over into London from a foreign country, this time India. The story has it genesis in a peasant revolt in India. It involves a nasty kind of greed which destroys everything around it.

At one point, Holmes tells Watson, "I should never marry . . . lest I bias my judgment."

Holmes is a reasoning machine who, when he is not working on a puzzle, is doing drugs.

This book reminds me of my own reading habits. I'm more taken with character than plot. That makes a Holmes story such as this one seem ordinary to me. But I know there are more and better stories to come. As I read the last seven of these nine volumes, there are terrible villains and real people to come. So I will keep on reading.


Corey Wilde said...

Is it unreasonably contrary of me to dislike and disdain Holmes's drug use but not turn a hair when Jack Taylor goes on a coke binge?

Joe Barone said...

What can I say? Among the things that have amazed me about the two Holmes books I've read so far has to do with how "modern" they are, at least in some ways. One dealt with religious abuse. And of course, we all know about Holmes' addiction.