In this second Sherlock Holmes novel, the indomitable sleuth is visited by a woman in distress. Each year on the anniversary of her father’s mysterious disappearance 10 years ago, Miss Mary Morstan has been receiving pearls, she knows not why or from whom. This time, her anonymous benefactor wants to meet. In the letter, he promised to reveal the mystery and to “right the wrongs” against her. “If you distrust me,” he wrote, “bring two friends.” She brought Holmes and Watson. The ensuing investigation turns up a wronged woman, a stolen hoard of Indian treasure, a wooden-legged ruffian, a helpful dog, and a love affair.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859–1930) was born of Irish parentage in Scotland. He studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh, but initial poverty as a young practitioner led him into authorship. His first book introduced that prototype of the modern detective in fiction, Sherlock Holmes. He also wrote historical romances and made two essays into pseudoscientific fantasy: The Lost World and The Poison Belt.
“Sherlock Holmes is the very foundation stone of the edifice that is crime fiction.” (
“Of all the Holmes stories it is The Sign of Four which remains persistently in my memory.” (Graham Greene)
“[Holmes] is probably the only literary creation since the creations of Dickens which has really passed into the life and language of the people.” (G. K. Chesterton)
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