Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Sherlock Holmes: The Sign of Four - Notes

v     This is Doyle's second novel about Sherlock Holmes.

v     Two characters, Captain Morstan and Major Sholto worked as guards in a prison for the East India Company, which traded with India and China, and controlled half the world's trade in salt, tea, cotton, silk, and opium. Although privately owned, it had its own private armies, and ruled wherever it traded. It started in 1757 and ended in 1858, when the Indian Rebellion of 1857 caused the British government to take over control.

Cast of Characters (Zoznam Postáv):

Sherlock Holmes - a genius private investigator. He's made a science of solving crime.

Doctor Watson - a medical doctor who lives with Holmes, and assists in his adventures. He's also the narrator of each story.

Miss Mary Morstan - a young governess with a mystery.

Captain Morstan - Miss Morstan's father. After working many years in India, he's since disappeared.

Major Sholto - Captain Morstan's close friend, who worked with him in India.

Thaddeus & Bartholomew Sholto: Major Sholto's twin sons. Thaddeus is the good one. Bart is greedy, like his father. Both look ugly, and have funny voices.

Plot (Dej Príbehu) (SPOILER ALERT!!!):

1.      The original story begins at Holme's flat on Baker Street, with Holmes, out of boredom, injecting himself with cocaine. This shows the readers the danger of being too intelligent.

2.      An attractive young woman, Mary Morstan, comes to visit, and she has two different mysteries, that may be connected. First, her father disappeared ten years earlier. No one knows why. The only clue is a treasure map she found in her dad's trunk, titled "The Sign of Four" with four names on it: Dost Akbar, Abdullah Khan, Maomet Singh, and Jonathan Small.

3.      Then, for the last six years she's been receiving pearls in the mail, from a stranger.

4.      Now, this stranger wants to meet, saying Mary's been treated unfairly, but asking that no police come with her. Holmes and Dr. Watson agree to escort her.

5.      The three take a horse-drawn cab to meet this stranger, who turns out to be Thaddeus Sholto. He tells the truth about Mary's father. He had a heart attack while arguing with Major Sholto, and died. Afraid of the police, the Major buried his body in the yard of his large home. :) So sorry!

6.      the Captain and Major were arguing over how to share a buried treasure, which the Major had taken back to England. They'd gotten the map to it from a prisoner - Jonathan Small. He was supposed to be released after giving it to them, but they decided to let Jon rot in prison, and take the money for themselves. :)

7.      Major Sholto revealed all this to his sons, while he was on his death bed. He was weak from malaria, and scared because he'd just gotten a letter that Jon Small had escaped from prison!

8.      Thaddeus and Bart argued over whether to share the treasure with Miss Morstan. Meanwhile, Bart tore the whole house apart, inside and out, looking for it. Their father died just before telling them where it was hidden.

9.      Holmes, Watson, Morstan, and Thaddeus then all go back to this house to talk to Bart. But, when they get there, they find he's been murdered! With a poisoned dart!

10.  They call the police, who arrest Thaddeus. But, Holmes finds a small footprint, and thinks the real killer has escaped. He sends Dr. Watson to get a bloodhound, and they follow the scent to a boat rental on the river Thames. It took off a while ago, and hasn't returned yet.

11.  Holmes then calls for his Baker's Street Irregulars, a gang of young children, who go up and down the river, looking for the boat. They find it, repainted, and Holmes calls the police.

12.  The story ends with a boat chase, where they capture Jonathan Small, killing his small accomplice, named Tonga. Jon threw most of the treasure into the river, so no one would have it.

13.  So, how did Jon Small get this treasure? Well, it turns out he's had a bad life. Jon started as a soldier in India, like the Captain and Major, but he had a leg bitten off by a crocodile. During the Indian Rebellion, he was stationed at Agra Fortress.

14.  One night he saw two Sikh soldiers going out secretly. They saw him and said, either join us or die. They robbed a Rajah (a rich Indian), and buried his treasure in the fortress. Then, they were caught and sent to prison, where Jon Small had hoped his map would help earn his freedom.

15.  Somehow, in all this adventure, Mary and Dr. Watson fall in love, and agree to marry.

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