Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Sign of the Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Title: The Sign of the Four

Author: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Genre: Mystery

Summary: A young lady has been sent pearls. Sherlock and Watson investigate their origin, along with a cryptic letter that promises to explain all.

The Take-Away: My love of the classics is two-fold: I love stories that well told even by modern standards; I love seeing how the world has changed. For instance, Sherlock Holmes was a cocaine user. When he wasn't solving mysteries, he was so bored with life, that a 7% solution was one of the two things that made life tolerable -- the other being morphine.

I also love seeing how writing has changed. "Editing" the title helps me to think through what would need to be done to make it sell in today's market. Working out that muscle also helps my own writing.

Sherlock isn't nearly as interesting as Watson. Sherlock is cool and undistribed, always right whereas Watson is emotional and often overlooks what Sherlock considers a clue. Indulge me a bit here: Sherlock is always right, because the author makes sure he is. If Sherlock missed a clue, here and there, like Watson often does, would the books be considered as great? Is it because Sherlock is a larger than life character that they've carried through the years?

Recommendation: If you like classics, Sherlock is a great detective.

Extra: is a great way to read the classics. A new fragment is emailed on a time table you establish, plus you can always request the next one. New titles added daily.

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