4. The Sign Of Four : Novel Genre Solution

The Sign Of Four

The Sign of Four, is the second novel featuring Sherlock Holmes by British writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Novel Genre is an important section of std 12 syllabus. Solution to the question bank on The Sign Of Four: Novel Genre is here for your ready reference. This will give you enough confidence to deal with The Sign of Four : Novel Genre.


“The Sign of the Four” by Arthur Conan Doyle is a mystery novel featuring the iconic detective Sherlock Holmes and his companion Dr. John Watson. The story begins with Mary Morstan seeking Holmes’s help to solve the mystery of her missing father’s disappearance and a peculiar series of anonymous gifts she receives.

As Holmes and Watson delve into the case, they uncover a complex web involving a stolen treasure, a secret pact, and a series of murders. The Agra treasure, acquired during the Indian Rebellion of 1857, becomes a focal point. Major Sholto, one of the treasure’s original holders, is found dead, and the pursuit of the truth leads the characters through a maze of intrigue.

The narrative takes the reader from the bustling streets of London to a mysterious fort in India, where the past secrets of the characters unfold. As Holmes employs his brilliant deductive skills, the story weaves together elements of adventure, romance, and suspense. Ultimately, the resolution involves the revelation of the treasure’s location and the capture of the perpetrators.

“The Sign of the Four” showcases Conan Doyle’s masterful storytelling, intricate plotting, and the enduring partnership between Holmes and Watson in solving perplexing mysteries.


The theme of “The Sign of the Four” by Arthur Conan Doyle revolves around mystery, adventure, and the pursuit of justice. The novel explores the consequences of greed, colonialism, and the complexity of human relationships, all within the context of a gripping detective story led by Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson.


  1. Sherlock Holmes:
  • Brilliant and analytical detective.
  • Adept at deductive reasoning and keen observation.
  • Eccentric, with a passion for solving puzzles.
  • Lives at 221B Baker Street, London.

2. Dr. John Watson:

  • Holmes’s loyal friend and companion.
  • Narrator of the story.
  • A former army doctor.
  • Represents the common man’s perspective.

3. Mary Morstan:

  • The client seeking Holmes’s help.
  • A woman of mystery and grace.
  • Becomes romantically involved with Watson.

4. Thaddeus Sholto:

  • Son of Major Sholto.
  • Plays a key role in the unfolding mystery.
  • Inherited wealth from a treasure linked to his father.

5. Major Sholto:

  • Deceased military officer with a mysterious past.
  • Connected to the Agra treasure.
  • His death sets the events of the story in motion.

6. Jonathan Small:

  • A former soldier and one of the treasure’s original holders.
  • Has a significant role in the mystery.
  • Displays both villainous and sympathetic traits.

Questions And Answers on 1 to 5 The Sign Of Four

4. The Sign Of Four : Novel Genre Solution

Q. 5 D Answer in about 50 words to the questions given below. (2×2 = 4 marks)
1. The reception of six pearls helps the story to move forward by providing some connection with the other happenings. Illustrate.Ans :  The reception of six pearls gives a breakthrough to the story ‘The Sign of Four’. Mary Morston, the major character in the story has received six pearls from an unknown person one per year. With the last pearl there was a note for meeting. She approached the detective Holmes to get help. Holmes and his friend Dr. Watson agreed to accompany her to an the unknown person. The story moves forward to and unfolds the secret of pearls received by her. 

2. Describe the desired destination of the parties in your words by providing some details.

Ans : Miss Morstan, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson were on their desired destination. They were taken to the forbidden neighborhood. The area was not inhabited. Their cab stopped at a house which was as dark as others. A single glimmer appeared in the kitchen. It was a third rate suburban dwelling house. Here they were invited to discuss about some important issue about the treasure.

3. Write the character sketch of Sherlock Holmes as a professional detective. 

Ans:  Sherlock Holmes is a  major character in the story. He is a professional detective. In the novel ‘Sign Of Four’ Mary Mortsan gives her case to Holmes to solve.  He has a business tone and extraordinary concentration dealing with his client. He is very peculiar in dealing with the case. He derives some conclusion from handwriting. He goes to the root of the case and comes with a solution. He is a kind and brilliant detective. 

4. Compare the thought process of Holmes and Dr. Watson in handling the case.

Ans: Holmes is of the opinion that the judgment should not be biased by personal qualities. He observes the handwriting in the note and draws conclusion that the writer is a man of self esteem and character. For Holmes there is no mystery in the case. To Watson the handwriting seems legible and regular. 

5. Narrate the case of Miss Morstan in your words. 

Ans: Mary Morstan’s father disappeared on 3rd of December, 1878 from a hotel. She was about to meet him at the hotel. She complained about the missing of her father at the police station. She advertised about it. She met her father’s friend Major Sholto. But he was not found. Then in 1882 she found an advertisement for her address. She responded to the advertisement and she received a pearl. Since then she received such pearls for six years. With the last pearls she had a letter with a message – She was wronged and should have justice.

Questions And Answers 6 to 10 on The Sign Of Four

6. Sherlock Holmes deduced facts from the back files of the times. Justify by providing few details.

Ans: Sherlock Holmes found after consulting the back files of the Times that Major Sholto died upon the 28th of April 1882. Within a week of his death, Mary Morstan receives a valuable present repeatedly. In a letter with a last pearl she is described as wronged woman. Sherlock Holmes deduced that it was about her father. Sholto’s hair knows something about the mystery about Mary’s father’s disappearance.
7. ‘You are a wronged woman, and shall have justice’. Interpret the statement to highlight the conflict in Miss Morstan’s mind.

Ans: Mary Morstan receives a precious pearl every year since 1882. In the sixth year with a pearl there was a letter which reads ‘You are a wronged woman, and shall have justice’. Her father major Morstan who was an officer in an Indian regiment. He reached London but disappeared before meeting his daughter. His friend Sholto and Major Morstan had looted treasure. But Sholto cheated Morstan. Sholto told this to his sons. They wanted to compensate and so they arranged Meeting with Mary Morstan by writing the letter.

8. Dr. Watson reflects Miss Morstan’s state of mind. Discuss with some examples.

Ans: Dr Watson was nervous and depressed as he was accompanying Mary Morstan and Holmes. He sensed that Mary Morstan also was suffering from the same feeling.  
9. Holmes had a competence about the route of their travel. Suggest some points to clarify the statement.

Ans: Sherlock Holmes had a competence about the route of their travel in London. On the journey he muttered the names of places such as Rochester Row, Vincent Squae Vauxhall Bridge Road, Wordsworth Road Stockwll Place Robert Street .
10. The mention of new places adds a pace to the story. Justify.

Ans : The story opens at the place of Sherlock Holmes. It takes us to Lyceum Theatre. The story takes us to family estate of Thaddeus. The mention of places like the Thames and Baker Street adds pace to the story. It has also references to  Agra, Andaman Islands.

Questions And Answers 11 to 18 on The Sign Of Four

11. Mary Morstan found Holmes as right person to handle her case. Give reason

Ans: Sherlock Holmes had unraveled  Mrs Cecil Forrester domestic complication. She was impressed with his kindness and skills. She recommended her employee Mary Morstan  to hand over her case to Holmes. With his skills he solved her case too. 

12. Write the character sketch of Dr. Watson as a sensitive character.

Ans: Dr Watson is a narrator of the novel ‘Sign of Four’. He appears as a friend of Sherlock Holmes. He helps Holmes in his profession of detective. He is a very sensitive. He is ready to help even the clients of Holmes. He is attracted to Mary Morstan in the very first meeting. 

13. The paper found in the desk of captain Morstan is the center of the action. Explain.

Ans : Mary Morstan found a curious paper in her father’s trunk. She brought the paper for Holmes to observe. Observing the paper he concluded that the paper was an important documents. The paper was of Indian make and appeared as a map . On the paper  the words were written ‘The Sign of Four, – Jonathan Small, Mahomet Singh, Abdullah Khan, Dost Akbar.’ The story is about the hidden treasure described in the paper. 

14. “I may be very obtuse, Holmes, but I fail to see what this suggests.” Justify the statement by highlighting the difference in deducing the case.

Ans :  Sherlock Holmes finds no great mystery in the case of Mary Morstan. He finds some suggestive facts from the Times. It reads that Major Sholto died on the 28th of April, 1882. Dr.  Watson fails to connect this fact with Mary’s case. But Holmes deduces  that Mary’s father who disappeared knew  Sholto in London. After Sholto’s death Mary received a pearl and letter. 

15. Find support from the text which elaborates the tone of the narrator when he compares himself with Miss Morstan.
16. The narrator makes Miss Morstan’s journey comfortable while going to an unknown place. Narrate in your words.

Ans : The narrator, Miss Morstan and Sherlock Holmes were on journey to unknown place.  The narrator endeavoured to cheer and amuse Miss Morstan by memories of his adventures in Afghanistan. He told her anecdotes. 

17. ‘The coachman is described as a faithful servant’. Justify the statement in your words.

Ans : In the novel the coachman is described as faithful servant. He had to carry Miss Morstan and her two friends. Mary Morstan, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson reached at the Lyceum Theatre. A small, dark, brisk man in the dress of coachman was waiting for them. On seeing them he enquired if they were the parties with Mary Morstan. He scanned them with penetrating and questioning eyes. He asked Mary to promise that her  companions were not police officers. He carried them only after she promised.

18. Holmes, Dr. Watson and Mary Morstan reached at the third pillar of the Lyceum Theatre. Describe the state of mind of the trio.

Ans : Dr. Watson was nervous and depressed . Miss Morstan was also suffering from the same feeling. They were engaged on strange business. Sherlock Holmes remained unaffected from petty influences. 


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