Book Review: A Study In Scarlet + The Sign of the Four

Monday, October 03, 2016
Book Review: A Study In Scarlet + The Sign of the Four
I am a massive fan of Sherlock Holmes, I love the films and the BBC TV show but I am a bit ashamed to say that I haven't read any of the Sherlock Holmes books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle but thanks to the incredibly lovely people at Pan Macmillan, I now have this divine copy of *A Study in Scarlet & The Sign of the Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (£8.99, hardback).

I have to gush about the cover and book design for a bit, the dust jacket is so pretty but simple and understated and the page edges are gold! Additionally the hardback cover is a gorgeous pale duck egg blue and it's embossed. Oh and the end papers are lovely and autumnal. It's definitely one of the most beautiful books in my collection and I need more!

Anyway, moving onto the actual content of the book! As I said, I've watched all of the seasons of the BBC Sherlock series and the films as well so I'm familiar with the general stories and the characters but I didn't know how much of the tv shows and films was directly taken from the books. This edition contains the first two Sherlock Holmes novels (there are only four full novels as far as I know) and they are both very short with the book as a whole being around 317 pages.
Book Review: A Study In Scarlet + The Sign of the Four
A Study in Scarlet is the first Sherlock Holmes book and it's the book were the best crime fighting duo of Sherlock and Watson meet. As I haven't read anything by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle before, I didn't know if it would be easy to read or if it would be very formal as most classics seem to be; however I was very pleasantly surprised. The writing is formal and of it's time but it is quite easy and relatively quick to read but the best part is the feel of the writing, it makes me feel comfortable in the same way that Terry Pratchett's and J.K. Rowling's books make me feel, if that makes sense!

While reading, I can very clearly see the BBC Sherlock on the pages that I know and love - the portrayal of Sherlock by the BBC is pretty spot on but even though I'm familiar with the characters and story, it is still very enjoyable and there definitely are quite massive differences between the TV show/films and the books. I don't want to say at lot at all about the stories as I thought I knew what would happen but it is different and it's worth reading!

The second story, The Sign of the Four, is not part of the tv series or films as far as I know (maybe I'm misremembering) but I loved it, although there is some instalove in this second story which I am not a fan of! Both stories are obviously filled with Sherlock's unique and endearing, if a little quirky, nature and lots of mystery and crime but also other aspects and themes that aren't prominent in the adaptations such as the British colonies, religion, revenge and hidden treasure which I did find to be equally interesting and a teeny bit slow/dry at times. The second story is filled with much more adventure (it almost has Agatha Christie vibes) than the first story which I loved but I think on the whole, A Study in Scarlet is my favourite of the two.

Overall, I adore the book cover and design - it's so beautiful and I definitely need more! I have another copy from this range from Pan Macmillan, English Fairytales, which I can't wait to start around December. This edition is part of the stunning Macmillan Collector's Library range. I loved both of the stories in this edition, they are unique, interesting, very entertaining, familiar (although there are massive differences between the books and the adaptations) and intriguing. I think I do prefer A Study in Scarlet but they are both fantastic and almost fantastical at times. If you are familiar with the films and TV series and think you know the stories so you don't need to read the books - think again, the books are definitely worth reading! Overall rating: ★★★★★, 5/5!

Have you read any of the Sherlock Holmes books or anything by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle? What are you currently reading? 


  1. Ive seen it on TV too but not read the book! It is such a pretty book! I need to get it, would be perfect for my boyfriend as well who is a massive fan!
    Pam xo/ Pam Scalfi♥

  2. What a gorgeous cover! I've only read The Hound of the Baskervilles but I'd love to read more - couldn't get into the tv show though! x

    Josie | Sick Chick Chic

  3. I haven't read Sherlock Holmes in years, but I love the tales so much!
    Those gold edges sounds beautifully luxe!
    Angie | Chocolate & Lipstick | Beauty, Fashion & Lifestyle Blog


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