I'm a big fan of Arthur Conan Doyle and, happily, a lot of the subtexts within his books fit perfectly in with what I'm studying in the Literature portion of my degree and so when Katy and I were in the Trafford Centre last week I picked up The Sign Of Four and read it on the way home, and finished it in the library whilst I was waiting for Katy to finish to go home earlier this week. I don't know what I was expecting from The Sign Of Four, but I happily found it to be one of the easier Sherlock Holmes novels to read and I managed to get through it fairly quickly. Also, my one is a penguin classic and, although it was only £5, the cover is the beautiful Despotica cover and so it looks amazing on my bookshelf.
Honestly, considering I was essentially reading to extend my knowledge of time periods etc. within Literature, I expected to find it really boring but I was very happily surprised. I found the book even more enticing than the offerings I have read by Conan Doyle in the past, and it's only just over 100 pages long, so even for the least enthusiastic readers out there, this one isn't going to be impossible to get through. It's a lot less intimidating to pick up a book you know you can get through, especially as I picked this up as a little respite between my compulsory set texts - so kudos on that one.
The story basically follows Sherlock Holmes as he looks for missing treasure owed to a young woman, and the story that ensues. It's slightly bizarre, well written and fast paced - and all in all I just found it a joy to read. As a Sherlock and Elementary fan, it's nice to read the texts that inspired the TV shows, it's nice to see the links and what remained true to the original and I think you'll find the humour in the modern touches to the show if you've both read and watched Sherlock.
All in all - it's what you'd expect from Conan Doyle, but I do think that everyone should read at least one of his books in their lifetime. I know the stories of Sherlock Holmes pretty well, but I have to say that realistically, knowing the stories just doesn't compare to reading them and being right in the middle of the action with Sherlock, Watson, Mary, Gregson and Lestrade. There's something magical about reading the book and seeing the world as Conan Doyle imagined it that you just can't catch no matter how good the television or film remake is.
All in all - buy the book because it will look bloody adorable on your shelf and it's a really good read.