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Sign of Four: Intermediate Level (Macmillan Readers) [Tapa blanda]

Arthur Conan Doyle

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Amazon.com: 4.5 de un máximo de 5 estrellas  257 opiniones
31 de 32 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
5.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas Oh my gosh....AMAZING 14 de febrero de 2010
Por Un cliente - Publicado en Amazon.com
Formato:Versión Kindle
What starts out as a small meeting with an unknown man turns into a murder mystery for Sherlock Holmes. I don't like to spoil endings, but let me say this: if you think the book is boring at first, don't stop reading: there is a TON of action towards the end.
33 de 36 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
5.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas Best $0.00 I ever spent 26 de octubre de 2010
Por Dustin - Publicado en Amazon.com
Formato:Versión Kindle|Compra verificada
This was a great book, as expected of the Sherlock Holmes novels. The book gets really interesting towards the end as all the others seem to do when Sherlock reveals the mystery. It's a pretty short read, and it's free on kindle! Why wouldn't you get this?
12 de 12 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
5.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas better than 7 percent solution 20 de septiembre de 2000
Por Daniel J. Connelly - Publicado en Amazon.com
Formato:Tapa blanda
As the second full-length story of Doyle's Holmes series, this book is a classic. It lacks the landmark status of A Study in Scarlet and the overall drama of The Hound of the Baskervilles, but nevertheless is a must-read for all Holmes fans and is strongly recommended to fans of detective fiction. The crime scene is a classic -- "Watson, when you have eliminated all other possibilities, the remaining possibility, no matter how seemingly improbable, is nevertheless likely".... or something like that.
While A Study in Scarlet deals rather unmercifully with the Mormon colony in Utah, A Sign of Four presents what would now be considered a strikingly politically incorrect perspective on India. It's an historically interesting British viewpoint from late in the last century.
Whether you read a public copy or get it from the University of Virginia on-line archive, I strongly recommend A Sign of Four. It's a quick read, and certainly a better option for spare time than Holmes' seven percent solution.
13 de 14 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
5.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas Murder, Mystery and Treasure! 2 de mayo de 2002
Por Peter Tevis - Publicado en Amazon.com
Formato:Tapa blanda
A classic Holmes novel, this book is perhaps one of Sherlock's most puzzling mysteries. As told by Dr. Watson, this mystery may have been one of Holmes's toughest cases yet.
As Sherlock is injecting cocaine into his blood system, he sits down with placid relief, until there is a knock at the door. In enters the beautiful Mary Morstan, whom Watson immediately takes a fancy to. While Watson observes her beauty, Holmes observes her problem. It seems that she is a rather middle-class woman, with style and father in the military, who is currently stationed in India. He had recently wrote to her saying that he would come to visit. However, he never showed up when she went to pick him up. That was ten years ago. But starting six years ago, four years after his disappearance, Miss Morstan had been receiving mysterious packages containing pearls of great value, one a year. Having been contacted by her mysterious complimentor, should she go and meet him? Or should she stay home? The truth lies with in the book.
This book is a triumph for the celebrated novelist Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and I believe that many people would enjoy this book. Just to be specific, it would mainly be for people who are in the age group of around: 13 or older, and also those who are fond of the mystery novels and thrillers and anyone who could use a good book.
8 de 9 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
4.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas The science of deduction embodied in one man. 5 de agosto de 2003
Por Godly Gadfly - Publicado en Amazon.com
Formato:Tapa blanda
Published in 1890, "The Sign of Four" was Doyle's second work, featuring the legendary detective Sherlock Holmes. The first chapter is appropriately titled "The Science of Deduction", and serves as a wonderful introduction to the enigmatic man and his methods. Holmes asserts that there are "three qualities necessary for the ideal detective", namely knowledge, the power of observation, and the power of deduction. Holmes' abilities at observation are superb, as evidenced by some of the books he's produced on obscure topics like the tracing of footsteps, the influence of a trade on the form of a hand, or the enumeration of 140 forms of cigar, cigarette and pipe tobacco ash. He is careful to distinguish mere observation from clear deductive reasoning, and it is the latter which really is the essence of Holmes. To him the only thing that is important is "the curious analytical reasoning from effects to causes" by which he unravels a case. Already in the opening, he demonstrates his powers of deduction by coming to stunning and perfectly logical conclusions about Watson's brother, merely by seeing his watch. What is obscure to everyone, is of course perfectly obvious to Holmes: "so absurdly simple that an explanation is superfluous." He is the epitomy of deduction and cold hard reason.
While Holmes is the embodiment of reason, Watson is the embodiment of emotion. Holmes is naturally critical of the emotional and romantic streak in Watson. "Detection is, or ought to be, an exact science and should be treated in the same cold and unemotional manner." When Watson comments on the attractiveness of Holmes' client, he replies "Is she? I did not observe." Completely deprived of emotion, he looks not at beauty, but at cold hard facts. "It is of the first importance not to allow your judgment to be biased by personal qualities ... The emotional qualities are antagonistic to clear reasoning." In this story Watson finds himself a wife, something Holmes would never consider: "...love is an emotional thing, and whatever is emotional is opposed to that true cold reason which I place above all things. I should never marry myself, lest I bias my judgment." Fortunately we need not share Holme's cold and emotionless tastes to love him, because we are involved in the story through the first person narrative of Watson, who has more than enough emotion and romance to make up for what Holmes lacks. Watson is a brilliant literary device for Doyle, because it enables us to portray Holmes with his cold logic without having to identify with him. Instead we identify with Watson as passive observers and view Holmes himself as a curious object to be marvelled at.
We need not identify with Holmes to appreciate his passion for deduction. In "The Sign of Four" Holmes applies his powers of deduction to a remarkable case involving Mary Morstan, whose father disappeared under mysterious circumstances some ten years earlier. Investigation uncovers the facts of his death, and the suprising discovery that he has bequeathed her a tremendous treasure. The plot thickens as the treasure disappears along with a classic locked-room murder mystery. Mysterious notes with "The Sign of Four" seem to be the only clue to the mystery. Of course only Holmes can and does unravel the mystery, even when all the other police detectives are desperately misled by both clues and lack of reason. As usual Holmes will cooperate with them, but only on his terms: "You are welcome to all the official credit, but you must act on the lines that I point out."
As with "A Study in Scarlet", we're again introduced to the elements that typify a Sherlock Holmes story. Holmes utilizes "the unofficial force - the Baker Street irregulars" to help him. They consist of a dozen dirty and ragged little street Arabs, whom Holmes pays in return for information gleaned from the streets. "They can go everywhere, see everything, overhear everyone." Holmes also utilizes the power of disguise, which he expertly uses to even pull the wool over the eyes of his companion Watson. But "The Sign of Four" also gives a glimpse of Holmes' weakness - an addiction to morphine and cocaine. The justification is that he only resorts to the use of drugs when he is not busy with a case. "My mind rebels at stagnatism." "Hence the cocaine. I cannot live without brainwork." He much prefers the mental challenge of a case "...it would prevent me from taking a second dose of cocaine." But just as Holme's intellectual brilliance stimulates himself, so it stimulates the reader. In the process of his deductions, he evidences an astute understanding of people, articulating gems like this: "The chief proof of man's real greatness lies in his perception of his own smallness." On carefully asking people the right questions: "The main thing with people of that sort is never to let them think that their information can be of the slightest importance to you. If you do they will instantly shut up like an oyster." On women: "Women are never to be entirely trusted - not the best of them." And as with most mysteries, as readers we are reminded of what lengths the passions of greed and revenge will go in corrupting human behaviour.
As in all the Sherlock Holmes stories, Holmes himself unquestionably emerges the hero. However, Doyle had not yet perfected the Sherlock Holmes formula, because in the lengthy extended flashback of the final chapter as the murderer describes his story Holmes himself falls to the background. The truth is, we want more of Holmes and his deduction, and that's what Doyle perfected in his later short stories. But if deduction is indeed a science as Holmes believes, then he himself is its greatest scientist, and there are few pleasures greater than seeing this enigmatic scientist at work in the laboratory of life. -GODLY GADFLY
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