Arthur and Sherlock: Conan Doyle and the Creation of Holmes

Arthur and Sherlock: Conan Doyle and the Creation of Holmes

by Michael Sims


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2018 Edgar Award Nominee

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 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, Émile 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.

Filled with details that will surprise even the most knowledgeable Sherlockian, Arthur and Sherlock is a literary genesis story for detective fans everywhere.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781632860408
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 05/15/2018
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 422,398
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

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

25 Truth as Death 158

26 Watson's Brother's Watch 166

27 Dread of Madhouses 174

28 Adventures in the Strand 179

29 Deerstalker 184

30 To My Old Teacher 191

Acknowledgments 199

Notes 201

Bibliography and Further Reading 223

Index 235

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