Thursday, February 3, 2011

Opening Sentence of the Day: The Sign of the Four

"Sherlock Holmes took his bottle from the corner of the mantel piece, and his hypodermic syringe from its neat morocco case."

-- The Sign of the Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

This is a pretty startling opener today; it must have been shocking at the time. Although, maybe not. Maybe cocaine wasn't illegal back then, so this would have been tantalizing, but not bear the freight it does today.

This is the second of the Sherlock Holmes books. I am reading them in order because I found a pretty little set at an estate sale last summer.


  1. I am so jealous of your Holmes collection!!!

  2. Pretty cool set and I love the opening sentence. I don't think it was illegal but I don't think most people injected it. Opium was present in many elixirs for various "illnesses" and was even given to babies to soothe them during teething or colic, etc.

  3. Love collection ,this is a wonderful story love the indian scenes and the two brothers wonderful ,all the best stu

  4. I read the Sherlock Holmes novels in order last year and really enjoyed them. This one was particularly tricky. The cocaine use if pretty full on isn't it!

    And I have to add what everyone has already said - what a great set!

  5. Baley: It is a cute set. Unfortunately, I'm missing the last volume, so will probably end up paying more for it to get the complete set than I paid for all the others combined. ;-)

    RV: You are right -- I seem to recall some of that history of cocaine. Like it was the original "coca" in Coca-Cola and all that. But injecting it does seem novel.

    Stu: I am looking forward to the rest of the story. The first one was surprisingly entertaining.

    Becky: Hi! Nice to hear from you! I hope you are doing well. I just might go through the whole set this year. I am enjoying them a lot so far.

  6. Gotta love that Sherlock Holmes set!

  7. I've never read any Sherlock Holmes, but am planning to read The Hound of the Baskervilles in April. I bought myself a complete collection for Christmas last year- nice enough, but not as pretty as your set.


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