Dennis Laumen We who cut mere stones must always be envisioning cathedrals

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - The Sign Of Four

Possible spoilers

When I finished reading A Study In Scarlet. I immediately picked up Doyle's second book: The Sign Of Four. The Sign Of Four is another novel featuring everyone's favourite detective, Sherlock Holmes.

The book really starts with a bang when Holmes uses cocaine in the very first chapter. I would never have guessed that Holmes was a crack head before I read the books. Note that cocaine usage didn't carry the same social stigma's it does nowadays, Watson does see it as a vice however.

"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.

Dr. Watson also falls in love. This love story is told in such a prudish way its almost funny. I especially liked the end of chapter eleven and the beginning of chapter twelve. At the end of chapter eleven Watson declares his love:

"Because I love you, Mary, as truly as ever a man loved a woman. Because this treasure, these riches, sealed my lips. Now that they are gone I can tell you how I love you. That is why I said, 'Thank God.'"

Chapter twelve starts off with Watson returning to the cab with which he went to the location where he declared his love:

"A very patient man was that inspector in the cab, for it was a weary time before I rejoined him."

A very patient man indeed!I found this second novel to be a lot better than the first. Plot wise both books are probably on par but The Sign is written much better than A Study. Doyle also corrects a lot of mistakes he made when writing the first book. Although the villain in this story also isn't known to the reader it really isn't that bothersome. This is probably because Holmes already knows who did it after a few chapters. This makes it less of a whodunit and more of a thriller which is a good thing when you're not letting the reader guess the villain's identity.

If you like detectives you should definitely read this book. If you are a good screen reader you could always check the book out at Project Gutenberg.