|Title:||The Sign of the Four||Collection:||The Novels|
|Year published:||1890 (February)||Year set in:||1888|
|Mystery:||Why is she getting the pearls and what happened to her father?|
|Apparent crime:||Murder||Actual crime:||Shown below (possible spoiler)|
|Summary:||A woman receives a valuable pearl every year from an unknown source.|
The father of Mary Morstan disappeared while he was travelling to meet her. Years later, she begins to receive a valuable pearl every year from a mysterious person. After six years, she receives a letter, requesting to meet her. When she meets the sender, they find his brother has been murdered inside a locked room.
- Actual crime
- Explanation (spoiler alert)
Many years earlier, two army officers, Captain Morstan and Major Sholton, had met a convict who told them of a hidden treasure. They agreed to help the convict and his three friends escape and split the treasure between them. But Sholto had betrayed them and fled with the treasure.
Later, Morstan returned to England and confronted Sholto but died of a heart attack. When he later succumbs to poor health himself, Sholto tells his sons of what occurred.
When Sholto dies, his son Thaddeus sends the pearls to Morstan's daughter as recompense.
Jonathan Small, the convict who had met Sholto and Morstan, returns to England to find the treasure. His native servant kills Bartholomew Sholto and flees but Holmes manages to track him down. The native is killed and Small abandons the treasure into the Thames.
- Quotations in this story (3)
Quote "No, no; I never guess. It is a shocking habit, - destructive to the logical faculty." "I never make exceptions. An exception disproves the rule." "How often have I said that when you have eliminated the impossible whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?"
- Characters in this story (10)
Surname First name Title Holmes Sherlock Hudson Mrs Jones Athelney Detective Morstan Mary Sholto Thaddeus Small Jonathan Toby Tonga Watson John Doctor Wiggins Baker Street Irregular
- Locations in this story (2)
Location Town/City County 221b Baker Street London Pondicherry Lodge London
- Other notes
Watson meets Mary Morstan during this story and marries her.
Mary Captain Arthur Morstan Major John Thaddeus Bartholomew Sholto Jonathan Small Mahomet SIngh Abdullah Khan Dost Akbar Chowdar McMurdo Toby Athelney Jones Forrester Bernstone Sherman Mordecai Smith Wiggins irregulars Achmet Holder Abelwhite Dawson Tonga India Andamans Norwood Pondicherry Agra Pinchin pearl chaplet sign four wooden treasure poison dart thorn creosote steam launch Aurora