Form and Content

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

In The Real Sherlock Holmes: Arthur Conan Doyle, Mary Hoehling details the adventurous life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, from his youth in a poor nineteenth century neighborhood in Edinburgh to his later years in the early twentieth century, when he had become an internationally famous writer. Her narrative progresses chronologically through nineteen chapters and is followed by a bibliography of works both about and by Doyle, as well as an index. The book is written in the third person, except for short excerpts from correspondence, quotations from Doyle’s works, and a number of fictionalized conversations between Doyle and members of his family, his friends, or his associates.

Although Doyle was a prolific writer on a wide variety of historical, political, and fictional subjects, his reputation continues to rest on the unique characters of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson, whose exploits and subsequent popularity tended to overshadow their creator even during his lifetime. Hoehling’s opinion is that, despite the obvious model for Holmes in Doyle’s medical professor, Dr. Joseph Bell, and the writer’s eventual rejection of his most famous creation, the remarkable detective was very much an extension of Doyle’s own personality and interests.

Hoehling follows Doyle from the age of nine through the major events in his life. These events include his education in a variety of schools, his ups and downs as a young medical doctor,...

(The entire section is 449 words.)