Arthur and Sherlock

Arthur and Sherlock

Conan Doyle and the Creation of Holmes

Book - 2017
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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.
Publisher: New York, NY : Bloomsbury USA, 2017
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9781632860392
Branch Call Number: 823 D75WS6a
Characteristics: x, 245 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm


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Feb 20, 2017

Sims obviously loves and admires his subjects here, both Doyle and Holmes, and often including Watson. For the reader, they all obtain a high degree of familiarity through Sims's copious revelations and musings. Much of his text is verified by historic fact, biological events and direct revelations. But there are moments when his pondering's and wanderings lift us into fictionalized probabilities. These add and enrich an already intriguing study of how Sherlock Holmes came to be the ultimate detective sleuth from the pen of Sir Arthur Canon Doyle.
I have read the Holmes detective series three times, each renews my admiration and adds furthers discoveries of the mirth and satire Doyle subtly laid into his fictions. Now, reading about the authors adventures and tribulations before birthing Holmes, it is clear Doyle had a truly Renaissance mind, quick to turn even the slightest event or adventure into fodder for his eventual hero. Sims has generated numerous Anthologies about this fascinating Victorian period that reveal the underbelly and delight writers and criminals were enjoying under Victoria's wary eye. Bravo, well done.

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