Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

 

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Sir Arthur created one of the most famous detectives in the world: Sherlock Homes, who is currently making yet another comeback as a series of films starring Robert Downing Jr.  My favourite story is 'The Hound of the Baskervilles'.

 

Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle KStJ, DL (22 May 1859 7 July 1930) was a British writer and physician. He created the character Sherlock Holmes in 1887 for A Study in Scarlet, the first of four novels and fifty-six short stories about Holmes and Dr. Watson. The Sherlock Holmes stories are milestones in the field of crime fiction.

Doyle was a prolific writer; other than Holmes stories, his works include fantasy and science fiction stories about Professor Challenger, and humorous stories about the Napoleonic soldier Brigadier Gerard, as well as plays, romances, poetry, non-fiction, and historical novels. One of Doyle's early short stories, "J. Habakuk Jephson's Statement" (1884), helped to popularise the mystery of the Mary Celeste. 

SHERLOCK HOLMES

Doyle struggled to find a publisher. His first work featuring Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, A Study in Scarlet, was written in three weeks when he was 27 and was accepted for publication by Ward Lock & Co on 20 November 1886, which gave Doyle 25 (equivalent to 2,900 in 2019) in exchange for all rights to the story. The piece appeared a year later in the Beeton's Christmas Annual and received good reviews in The Scotsman and the Glasgow Herald.

Holmes was partially modelled on Doyle's former university teacher Joseph Bell. In 1892, in a letter to Bell, Doyle wrote, "It is most certainly to you that I owe Sherlock Holmes ... round the centre of deduction and inference and observation which I have heard you inculcate I have tried to build up a man", and in his 1924 autobiography, he remarked, "It is no wonder that after the study of such a character [viz., Bell] I used and amplified his methods when in later life I tried to build up a scientific detective who solved cases on his own merits and not through the folly of the criminal." Robert Louis Stevenson was able to recognise the strong similarity between Joseph Bell and Sherlock Holmes: "My compliments on your very ingenious and very interesting adventures of Sherlock Holmes. ... can this be my old friend Joe Bell?" Other authors sometimes suggest additional influences - for instance, Edgar Allan Poe's character C. Auguste Dupin, who is mentioned, disparagingly, by Holmes in A Study in Scarlet. Dr. (John) Watson owes his surname, but not any other obvious characteristic, to a Portsmouth medical colleague of Doyle's, Dr. James Watson.

A sequel to A Study in Scarlet was commissioned, and The Sign of the Four appeared in Lippincott's Magazine in February 1890, under agreement with the Ward Lock company. Doyle felt grievously exploited by Ward Lock as an author new to the publishing world, and so, after this, he left them. Short stories featuring Sherlock Holmes were published in the Strand Magazine. Doyle wrote the first five Holmes short stories from his office at 2 Upper Wimpole Street (then known as Devonshire Place), which is now marked by a memorial plaque.

Doyle's attitude towards his most famous creation was ambivalent. In November 1891, he wrote to his mother: "I think of slaying Holmes, ... and winding him up for good and all. He takes my mind from better things." His mother responded, "You won't! You can't! You mustn't!" In an attempt to deflect publishers' demands for more Holmes stories, he raised his price to a level intended to discourage them, but found they were willing to pay even the large sums he asked. As a result, he became one of the best-paid authors of his time. 

In December 1893, to dedicate more of his time to his historical novels, Doyle had Holmes and Professor Moriarty plunge to their deaths together down the Reichenbach Falls in the story "The Final Problem". Public outcry, however, led him to feature Holmes in 1901 in the novel The Hound of the Baskervilles. Holmes's fictional connection with the Reichenbach Falls is celebrated in the nearby town of Meiringen.

In 1903, Doyle published his first Holmes short story in ten years, "The Adventure of the Empty House", in which it was explained that only Moriarty had fallen, but since Holmes had other dangerous enemies - especially Colonel Sebastian Moran - he had arranged to make it look as if he too were dead. Holmes was ultimately featured in a total of 56 short stories - the last published in 1927 - and four novels by Doyle, and has since appeared in many novels and stories by other authors. 

 

 

 

 

NOVELIST INDEX A - Z

 

 

 

Jeffrey Archer - Kane & Abel

Isaac Asimov - I Robot

Peter Benchley - Jaws

Enid Blyton - The Famous Five

Charlotte Bronte - Wuthering Heights

Dan Brown - The Da Vinci Code

Emily Bronte - Wuthering Heights

Edgar Rice Burroughs - Tarzan

Lee Child - One Shot

Agatha Christie - Murder on the Nile

Tom Clancy - The Hunt for Red October

Arthur C Clarke - Space Odyssey

Michael Connelly - The Lincoln Lawyer

Michael Crichton - Jurassic Park

Clive Cussler - Raise the Titanic

Daniel Dafoe - Robinson Crusoe

Roald Dahl - The Big Friendly Giant

Charles Dickens - Oliver Twist

Arthur Conan Doyle - Sherlock Homes

 

 

Alex Askaroff - Patches of Heaven

Alexander Dumas - Count Monte Christo

Ian Flemming - James Bond

John Grisham - The Pelican Brief

Charlaine Harris - Dead Until Dark

Stephen HawkingA Brief History of Time

Ernest HemingwayOld Man and the Sea

Amanda Hocking - My Blood Approves

Jameson Hunter - $Billion Dollar Whale

Stephen King - The Thing

Rudyard Kipling - The Jungle Book

Stieg Larson - Girl with Dragon Tattoo

D H Lawrence - Women in Love 

C S Lewis - The Chronicles of Narnia

Jack LondonThe Sea Wolf

Robert Ludlum - Bourne Identity

Ian McEwan - Atonement

Alistair McLean - Bear Island

Herman Melville - Moby Dick

Kyotaro Nishimura - Terminal Murder

 

 

George Orwell - 1984

Beatrix Potter - The Tale of Peter Rabbit

Arthur Ransome - Swallows & Amazons

Nora Roberts - Sweet Revenge

Harold RobbinsThe Carpetbaggers

J K Rowling - Harry Potter

William Shakespeare - Romeo & Juliet

Sidney Sheldon - The Naked Face 

Mary Shelley - Frankenstein

Wilbur SmithShout at the Devil

Bram Stoker - Dracula

Robert Louis Stevenson - Treasure Island

Mark TwainAdventures Huckleberry Finn

Jules Verne - 20,000 Leagues U Sea

Edgar Wallace - King Kong 

H G Wells - War of the Worlds

Oscar Wilde - Picture of Dorian Gray

Virginia Woolf - To the Lighthouse

 

 

 

 

GRAPHIC NOVEL INDEX A - Z

 

 

 

Anita Blake - Guilty Pleasures

Batman

Captain America

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John Storm - Kulo Luna

 

 

Ironman

Spiderman

Superman

Superwoman

The Incredible Hulk

 

 

The Fantastic Four

The Green Lantern

Tin Tin

Wonderwoman

X Men

 

 

 

 

 

Many traditional rules of publishing have been superceded by the long awaited advent of electronic publishing, such as for the ipad or e-kindle readers.

 

 

 

 

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