The Sign of Four: Study Guide for GCSE

The Sign of Four as a detective thriller paved the way for other successes, including Murder on the Orient Express, The Big Sleep and The Girl on the Train. Still by far the bestselling genre of literary fiction today, it regularly spawns new writers from Lee Child to Patricia Cornwell. This Study Guide will set students on the trail beside Holmes, Watson and Morstan with targeted, detailed notes and analysis.

  1. Walk-through – Builds understanding of the chosen text with insightful and relevant commentary and analysis. All scenes are concisely summarised, then examined in detail.
  2. Whole-text analysis – Explores: Characterisation • Relationships • Setting and props • Themes, ideas and messages • Language • Form and structure • Context


  • Student-friendly plot summary
  • Key term glossary
  • Further reading
  • Original illustrations

Woven into the analysis throughout you will find:

  • Discussion prompts to encourage debate and individual interpretation
  • Active learning tasks to deepen understanding
  • Essay tips and questions for excellent exam practice
  • Key term definitions to ensure students grasp difficult concepts