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The Sign of Four

Another Sherlock Holmes novel. This is the story about Holmes escapades on the search of missing Agra treasure.

Mary Marston starts receiving one pearl a year for past six years. Suddenly she receives a note saying ‘she was a wronged woman’ and she should meet a man who would compensate all the wrongs done to her. She can have two non-cop friends accompany her. With no one can trust she comes to Holmes. Whether they were able to find what was wronged her and the mystery behind the pearls she was receiving? Read on the book to find out.

One good thing about this novel is that there were not much clichés like Study in Scarlet, mainly because the plot was not much easier like the latter. I guess Conan Doyle himself felt that the first novel is more of the love and Holmes had very less part to play in it. He even did mention the same through Holmes in this novel that the first one was more of a love story which anyone can write.

When you read through ‘The Sign of the Four’, you could easily find that Doyle made sure that Holmes role is important than any of the characters involved in the mystery. For me, this is the novel that makes me think Homes as Hero. The details of the reasoning in the house of mystery were too detailed that would make you look for those if you have end up in any of the parallel situations. Particularly the chapters where he finds out the travel routes of the boat were ingeniously put in.

There is a flashback story in this novel as well, of course after finding out the guilty person. This time the story was not too great like that of Study in Scarlet which made me forget the Holmes adventure at all. Instead this one was a strange story setup in India where all the characters involved were negative.

This is another short novel of 120 odd pages which actually introduces Holmes as Hero. Doyle made sure no doubts would put up on that.

My Rating for this Sherlock Holmes novel is ★★★☆☆


A Study in Scarlet

Cover of the first edition of the book "A...

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I read this novel as part of Sherlock Holmes complete Novels and Short stories. My initial thought was to write a review for that book as a whole. But as I read through this huge collection it will be too difficult to tell about it in a single post. Moreover there are lots of free online copies available for each books, I decided to write reviews for each books as it were released.

Though I had read few of Sherlock Holmes stories way back, I did not remember anything other than he was an extraordinary detective who solves many cases with his simple reasoning when there were no modern equipments. The introduction in the book gives you the details of how much respect this character got during the time it published.

With all those in the mind, I read the first novel ‘A Study in Scarlett’. I should say I felt a bit disappointed to see the much hyped Sherlock Holmes introduced in such a novel where he reminded me of lot of policemen and detectives in various films where they pursue the hero.

Yes, in this novel, though Conan Doyle successfully introduced Holmes and his reasoning skills, when I read it fully, I felt he was the same old detective who tries to catch a good guy declaring ‘a crime is a crime.’

But as a story, this short novel (ran up to 120 pages in my hard copy) passes as a good one. Though there is nothing for you predict anything, this gives you a wonderful story.

But the problem is with these many years passed and the stories are very famous, you can expect many storytellers and film makers borrowed the idea. This is why the novel was full of clichés which we have seen in numerous films and stories.

We cannot blame Doyle for that. We need to blame the modern writers and directors who had stolen his imaginations. I would have given 4 stars had those clichés are not there.

My Rating for this intoroductory novel of Sherlock Holmes is ★★★☆☆

The Godfather

Cover of "The Godfather"

Cover of The Godfather

I am sure many of you would have read this book, The Godfather, longtime back. Even if you have not, at least most of you would have seen the movie.

This is the first English novel, I have ever read. Although Don Vito Corleone had been portrayed hundreds of times in many Indian and foreign movies, this is the base for all. Be it Nayagan or Sarkar, their actual name is Don Vito Corleone.

If you have not yet read the book, you would have guessed the story by now. It is about Don Corleone family who was one of big mafia family in New York. The novel deals with their gang war with other four families in ‘who is the superior in the city?’ war.

If you have any doubt whether a fictitious crime novel can be written as a complete history of the hero, here is the answer. Puzo proved that it can be done.

Being a crime novel, you can obviously expect a lot of blood and violence. Everything is there in the novel, but none was forced. In all the places, it is just going along with the story.

The film adaptation of this novel is one of the rare cases where the film did justice to the book. You would have heard it many times that for all the gang leader type movies, the base is The Godfather, The film.

But in the film, many things were missed. You cannot complain on it though as it is just a three hour movie and you cannot cover all the incidents in a single movie. So reading novel promises you some more entertainment than the movie.

I always prefer reading the book than watching the film adaptation. Because when you read it, all the characters and the places are as per your imagination. You are on your own on the looks of the characters. But when you watch the movie, it is just the director’s view of the book not yours.

If you have the habit of reading the books, I would recommend you read the book first and then watch the movie. You can see the differences between your imagination and the director’s.

My rating for this book is ★★★★☆

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