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The Case of Sherlock HolmesSecrets and Lies in Conan Doyle's Detective Fiction$
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Andrew Glazzard

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474431293

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474431293.001.0001

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Nice, Amiable People!

Nice, Amiable People!

Chapter:
(p.125) Chapter 12 Nice, Amiable People!
Source:
The Case of Sherlock Holmes
Author(s):

Andrew Glazzard

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474431293.003.0013

The Sign of Four was Conan Doyle’s second attempt at rewriting Wilkie Collins’s landmark detective novel The Moonstone. His fi rst, published between A Study in Scarlet and The Sign of Four, was The Mystery of Cloomber (1888), a short novel that Doyle later came to regard as mere apprentice work. It is certainly derivative: its setting in a coastal village in south-west Scotland is strongly redolent of Stevenson, with an atmosphere recalling that of some of Doyle’s favourites, such as ‘The Pavilion on the Links’ (1880). Technically, though, it follows Collins in its use of multiple narrators presenting their testimony, some of which takes the form of legalised witness statements and other official documents. But the influence of Collins is even more apparent in The Mystery of Cloomber’s characters, plot and orientalist tropes.

Keywords:   Colonialism, India, Mutiny, Race, The Sign of Four

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