Shortlisted for the H. R. F. Keating Award from the International Crime Writers Association
From Michael Sims, the acclaimed author of The Story of Charlotte’s Web, the rich, true tale tracing the young Arthur Conan Doyle’s creation of Sherlock Holmes and the modern detective story.
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 development of 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 laterafter Doyle's only modest success in both medicine and literatureSherlock 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, Émile Gaboriau, Wilkie Collins, and Charles Dickensnot just a skillful translator of clues, but a veritable superhero of the mind in the tradition of Doyle’s esteemed teacher.
Filled with 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 Frankenstein Dreams. He lives in western Pennsylvania.
Table of Contents
Overture: Remembering 1
Part 1 Dr. Bell and Mr. Doyle
1 A Super-Man 7
2 Your Powers of Deduction 12
3 Art in the Blood 20
4 Seven Weary Steps 25
5 Athens of the North 30
6 No Man of Flesh and Blood 35
7 Ode to Opium 40
8 Drinking Poison 45
9 Intemperance 51
10 Dr. Conan Doyle, Surgeon 58
11 A Wealth of Youth and Pluck 63
12 The Circular Tour 69
13 The Unseen World 74
Part 2 Prophets and Police
14 The Method of Zadig 83
15 The Footmarks of Poe 87
16 How Do You Know That? 95
17 Games of Chess, Played with Live Pieces 99
Part 3 Mr. Holmes and Dr. Watson
18 Dr. Sacker and Mr. Hope 111
19 Bohemians in Baker Street 119
20 A Little Too Scientific 125
21 The Book of Life 133
22 A Basilisk in the Desert 137
23 A Born Novelist 144
24 The Preternatural Sagacity of a Scientific Detective 151
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