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.