IntroductionLiving a life that was anything but “elementary, my dear Watson,” Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was known as an impetuous, brilliant, and curious man full of contradictions. Sought for his skill in deductive reasoning, he preferred the mysteries of spiritualism; famed for his classic detective fiction, he desired instead to write historic nonfiction; immortalized for creating the stoic, logical Sherlock Holmes, Conan Doyle died positing the existence of fairies and the ability to speak to the dead. In 1887, he introduced Sherlock Holmes in the novel A Study in Scarlet. The character was instantly embraced by readers, and Conan Doyle began producing novels and short stories to meet public demand. By the end of his life, he had also attempted works of science fiction and spiritualism, but none were ever as widely acclaimed as the beloved Sherlock Holmes.
- Sherlock Holmes was modeled after Conan Doyle’s mentor in medical school, Dr. Joseph Bell. Bell was said to be able to deduce a patient’s illness simply by looking at him or her.
- When Conan Doyle killed Sherlock Holmes, subscriptions to The Strand, a periodical in which the author’s work was published, dropped by 20,000 almost overnight.
- King Edward VII knighted Conan Doyle for his literary support of England during the Boer War. Some, however, claim the king did it simply to bribe the author to write more Holmes stories.
- Feeling the pressure and needing the income, Conan Doyle yielded to the fan base and wrote The Hound of Baskervilles, a novel occurring chronologically before Holmes’ death, and he eventually “resurrected” the character in 1903.
- Conan Doyle’s dying words to his second wife were “the greatest and most glorious adventure of all—you are wonderful.”
All Resources by Category
- Arthur Conan Doyle - Cyclopedia of World Authors
- Arthur Conan Doyle - Dictionary of World Biography: The 19th Century
- A Study in Scarlet - Literary Characters
- A Study in Scarlet - Literary Places
- Arthur Conan Doyle - 100 Masters of Mystery and Detective Fiction
- Arthur Conan Doyle - Critical Survey of Short Fiction
- Arthur Conan Doyle - Notable British Novelists
- The Hound of the Baskervilles - Literary Characters
- The Hound of the Baskervilles - Literary Places
- The Sign of Four - Literary Characters
- The Sign of Four - Literary Places
- Six Great Sherlock Homes Stories Lesson Plans
- The Best of Sherlock Holmes Lesson Plans
- The Hound of the Baskervilles Lesson Plans
- Lot No. 249 Study Guide (quickNotes)
- The Adventure of the Speckled Band Study Guide (eNotes)
- The Adventure of the Speckled Band Study Guide (Masterplots II: Short Story)
- The Lost World Study Guide (quickNotes)
- The Red-Headed League Study Guide (eNotes)
- The Red-Headed League Study Guide (Masterplots II: Short Story)
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