Arthur and Sherlock: Conan Doyle and the Creation of Holmes

Arthur and Sherlock: Conan Doyle and the Creation of Holmes

4 out of 5 based on 1 customer rating
(1 customer review)

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Arthur and Sherlock: Conan Doyle and the Creation of Holmes

” As a young medical student, Arthur Conan Doyle studied in Edinburgh under the vigilant eye of a diagnostic genius, Dr. Joseph Bell. Doyle often observed Bell identifying a patient’s occupation, hometown, and ailments from the smallest details of dress,gait, and speech. Although Doyle was training to be a surgeon, he was meanwhile cultivating essential knowledge that would feed his literary dreams and help him develop the most iconic detective in fiction. Michael Sims traces the circuitous developmentof Conan Doyle as the father of the modern mystery, from his early days in Edinburgh surrounded by poverty and violence, through his escape to University (where he gained terrifying firsthand knowledge of poisons), leading to his own medical practice in 1882. Five hardworking years later — after Doyle’s only modest success in both medicine and literature — Sherlock Holmes emerged in A Study in Scarlet. Sims deftly shows Holmes to be a product of Doyle’s varied adventures in his personal and professional life, as well as built out of the traditions of Edgar Allan Poe, âEmile Gaboriau, Wilkie Collins, and Charles Dickens — not just a skillful translator of clues, but a veritable superhero of the mind in the tradition of Doyle’s esteemed teacher. Filledwith details that will surprise even the most knowledgeable Sherlockian, Arthur and Sherlock is a literary genesis story for detective fans everywhere. “–


Michael Sims is the author of The Story of Charlotte’s Web, which the Washington Post, Boston Globe, and other venues chose as a Best Book of the year; Adam’s Navel, which was a New York Times Notable Book and a Library Journal Best Science Book; The Adventures of Henry Thoreau; and other books. He edits The Connoisseur’s Collection series of Victorian anthologies, including Dracula’s Guest, The Dead Witness, The Phantom Coach, and the upcoming Frankenstein Dreams. He lives in western Pennsylvania.

1 review for Arthur and Sherlock: Conan Doyle and the Creation of Holmes

  1. 4 out of 5


    The Advance Reading Copy showed up unexpectedly on Christmas Eve – thank you Bloomsbury Publishing. Not sure whether they were sending ARCs to people running Sherlockian scions or just found me on FB. In any case, I appreciated the gift. Not being a Doylean, I’ve never made it through a biography of Conan Doyle. As he lost interest in Sherlock, so I lost interest in him as soon as he started with the spiritualism hooey. Sims, who has written on Henry Thoreau, E.B. White and Darwin, has edited eight anthologies of Victorian stories of ghosts, detectives, vampire, women in crime, etc., and his breadth of interests shows. His approach here is strongly literary biography with big dollops of the myriad influencers who were the midwives to Holmes. Yes, all the usual suspects, but fleshed out more than the standard biographers were wont to do. My only complaint is that Sims was true to his subtitle and ended the work with the publication of the first twelve stories collected into book form, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. I would have liked to have had a bit more on the evolution of the character, but Sims no doubt saw that as a stretch. In any case, Sims’ prose is very readable and the information is easily and enjoyably absorbed. Highly recommended

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