“Sign of the Four” by Doyle in short summary

“Sign of the Four” by Doyle in short summary

Events of the “Sign of Four” are unfolding in London in 1888. During the forced idleness associated with the lack of orders, the famous detective-consultant Sherlock Holmes, living on Baker Street in house 221-6, together with his friend Dr. Watson, his deductive method, which he uses to solve crimes. Sherlock Holmes is convinced that by observing a drop of water the observant person is able to prove the existence of the Atlantic Ocean and Niagara Falls by logical conclusions, even if he has never seen them before and has not heard anything about them. It is necessary to notice the smallest details and facts, as they can make an invaluable contribution to the reconstruction of the full picture of events, the nature of the person and the circumstances of the crime.


a genius detective, Sherlock Holmes possesses encyclopedic knowledge in the field of criminal chronicles and chemistry, plays violin well, fencing and boxing well, understands English laws, is versed in geology, anatomy, botany, has an outstanding actor’s talent, but in literature, philosophy, astronomy of his knowledge are zero. In the hours when he has nothing to do, he is covered with murderous boredom and he finds solace in morphine and cocaine.

Dr. Watson, a friend and companion of Sherlock Holmes, a former military doctor who served with the British army in the Indian war with Afghanistan and wounded in this war, lives with Holmes in one apartment and is the chronicler of all the cases disclosed by his friend.

To the great pleasure of Sherlock Holmes, his temporary idleness is interrupted by a certain Miss Morstan, a special twenty-seven years with a soulful and kind face, testifying to the nobility and responsiveness of the soul. She tells the detective about the strange events that happened recently in her life, and asks for his help. As a child, she lost her mother. The father, who served as an officer in India, sent his daughter to a boarding house in England. In 1878, that is ten years ago, he came to England, as previously reported in a telegram. However, when Miss Morstan came to the hotel, she found out

that her father had suddenly disappeared. He did not return the next day, never returned. Then, beginning in 1882, she suddenly began to receive annually from someone one very beautiful and large pearl. And on the day of her visit to Holmes, she received a letter,

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are sent to the specified place with her. Before going out, she shows Holmes a strange note found in the things of the missing Morsten, on which was depicted the plan of some room, with four crosses painted in the same place, touching each other with crossbeams and with a pretentious signature: “the sign of four.” The man whom they met sends them to a cab in the southern part of London. There they get acquainted with a small red-haired man with a brilliant bald head. It turns out that he is one of the twin sons of Major Sholto, six years ago, Tadeusz Sholto. His father and father, Miss Morstan, once served together in India in the colonial forces. There, Major Sholto, mysteriously enriched, He resigned eleven years ago and returned to England with a rich collection of eastern rarities and a whole staff of native servants. The secret of the treasure acquisition and where they were stored, the major did not open to anyone until his death. Feeling her approach, he called his sons to him and told them how Captain Morstan died. It turned out that when he arrived ten years ago in London, he came to Sholto and they had a dispute over the division of the treasures that Morsten knew and which half he owed to him. He, suffering from a sick heart, had an attack. After which he fell and, hitting his head on the corner of the casket with the treasure, died. Afraid that he would be accused of murder, Sholto hid the captain’s body and said nothing to his daughter, when a few days later, looking for the missing father, she came to his house. Before his death, he wanted to open to his sons, where the casket itself is hidden, however to do this the terrible face outside the window prevented him. He died, taking the mystery with him to the grave. His sons, feeling duty to Miss Morsten and wanting to save her even from want, began to send her every year a pearl of pearl beads, at one time taken out of their father from the casket. For the time being, Tadeusz Sholto and his brother Bartholomew did not even guess where the riches themselves were hidden. However, on the eve, after many years of unsuccessful searches, Bartholomew found them in the attic of his house, in a secret enclosed chamber. He informed Tadeusz about this. That, despite the objections of his brother, inherited from his father’s avarice, decided to share the treasure with Miss Morstan. All four go to Bartholomew. However, it is found that he was killed by a poisoned thorn in his neck,

Minor details lead Sherlock Holmes to suggest that criminals are two people – a runaway convict named Jonathan Small, who has a wooden prosthesis instead of his right foot, and Number One, a savage from the Andaman Islands, small, very malicious and agile. After he helped Small with the casket to come down the rope from the window, he closed the shutters from the inside and got out through the attic. When he fled, he stained his foot in Creosote, and Holmes, with the help of a dog-sniffer, Toby, followed his trail to the river. There he learned that the criminals had boarded the hired boat Aurora. When Holmes’s plan to track down the boat with the help of the hired band of the boys is broken, he himself, disguised as an old sailor, goes in search of the Aurora and tries to track her down in the docks. He succeeds. He calls to the aid of the Scotland Yard inspector Ethelny Jones, who is investigating this murder, and they, together with Dr. Watson, are chasing a police boat and catching up with the crooks with the casket. When the savage’s pursuit has to be killed, because he begins to shoot at the pursuers with his poisonous thorns. Dr. Watson takes the casket to Miss Morstan, but in the end it is found that he is empty, to which the doctor is extremely happy, because the hedge, which he believes exists between him and the young woman because of her alleged wealth, disappears. Now he can freely admit to her in love and offer his hand and heart. Miss Morstan finds his proposal very attractive. Small, realizing that they would inevitably catch up with him, threw the jewels into the Thames, for he did not want to let them get to someone else. The death of Bartholomew Sholto was not part of his plans, and he did not kill him, but an evil savage without the knowledge of Small. To convince Sherlock Holmes and Ethelny Jones, he tells them the story of his life. In his youth, he enlisted in a soldier in the regiment, sent to India. However, soon with the service he had to part: when he was bathing in Tanga, the crocodile bit off his leg above the knee, and he became a helpless cripple. Then, when he worked as a supervisor on the plantation, a rebellion suddenly began in the country. Small hurried to Agra and joined the detachment of the English, who was hiding in the Agrian fortress. He was entrusted with guarding one of the entrances to the fortress and given to two Sikhs. On the third night the Sikhs seized Small and set him before a choice: to be with them or to be silent forever. They told him about their plan: in the northern provinces lived a very rich raja. Part of his wealth, he ordered the servant Ahmet to hide in the Agra fortress until the end of the war so that if the British win, at least retain this trunk. The Sikhs and the accomplice of Ahmed their accomplice wanted to kill him and take possession of the casket. Small decided to join them and swore allegiance to them. All four of them carried out their plan. They hid the murdered Ahmet in one of the halls of the old fortress, where no one ever visited. The casket was walled in the wall of the same room. Each of them received a note with a plan and symbolizing their loyalty to each other “the sign of the four.” However, subsequently all of them were sentenced to life imprisonment for murder. While serving their sentence, they could not use their wealth. Then Small agreed with Sholto and Morsten, who guarded the prison, that he would tell them where the casket was hidden, they would get their share, and in exchange organize for four prisoners escape. Sholto, who went for the casket, deceived all and returned to England alone. Since then, Small began to live only the thought of revenge. He escaped from prison with the help of his friend – a native named Tongo. In England, he made contact with one of the servants of Major Sholto and waited for the right moment. It was Small who glanced out the window at the dying major. After waiting for his time, he stole the treasure. For the death of Bartholomew, he unfastened Tongo with a rope. This was the story of Jonathan Small. It was Small who glanced out the window at the dying major. After waiting for his time, he stole the treasure. For the death of Bartholomew, he unfastened Tongo with a rope. This was the story of Jonathan Small. It was Small who glanced out the window at the dying major. After waiting for his time, he stole the treasure. For the death of Bartholomew, he unfastened Tongo with a rope. This was the story of Jonathan Small.

Treasure is not got to anyone. Dr. Watson got Miss Morstan’s wife, Ethelney Jones – fame for the crime, and Holmes was satisfied with the ampoule with cocaine.

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“Sign of the Four” by Doyle in short summary