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Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: Whom readers never let die

Published on : 07 July 2019, 09:47 AM
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: Whom readers never let die

Over 125 years after his creation, Sherlock Holmes remains the most popular fictional detective in history. The creator of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a multi-faceted personality: a doctor, a writer, a journalist and a public figure too. The worldwide idol for detectives, Sherlock Holmes became so popular that an unrest took place after his death in novel. In 1893, Conan Doyle killed off Holmes, hoping to concentrate on more serious writing. A public outcry later made him resurrect Holmes.

The multi-talented writer was born as Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle on May 22, in the year 1859, in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Doyles were a prosperous Irish-Catholic family. His father, Charles Altamont Doyle was a chronic alcoholic and apart from fathering a brilliant son, had no contribution in his life. Conan`s mother, Mary Doyle was a well-educated woman with a great story-telling power.  Arthur wrote of his mother`s gift of "sinking her voice to a horror-stricken whisper" when she reached the culminating point of a story. His mother used to read him stories to make him forget about real-life crises. At the age of 9, he was sent to a Jesuit boarding school with the help of his relatives. He spent 7 years in that school loathing the bigotry surrounding his studies and rebelling against corporal punishment which was a trend in most English schools of that epoch. 

Arthur only used to find happiness in those years, writing letters to his mother and that habit lasted for the rest of his life. Besides, he was a great cricketer. Arthur found himself as a great story-teller as he used to amuse the younger students of the boarding school with his own-created stories. 

From 1876 to 1881 he studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh. While studying, Conan Doyle began writing short stories. His first published story "The Mystery of Sasassa Valley" appeared in "Chambers`s Edinburgh Journal" before he was 20. His earliest extant fiction, "The Haunted Grange of Goresthorpe", was unsuccessfully submitted to Blackwood`s Magazine. Following his graduation, he was employed as a ship`s doctor. He completed his doctorate on the subject of tabes dorsalis in 1885. He even once performed the duty of a real-life detective too and absolved a man from the accusation of a crime he never had done. 

Doyle struggled to find a publisher for Sherlock Holmes at first. His first work featuring Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, “A Study in Scarlet”, was written in 3 weeks when he was 27 and taken by Ward Lock & Co in 1886, giving Doyle £25 only for all rights to the story. 

Doyle became a spiritualist mystic during his medical study. He began attending seances where mediums offered contact with the dead. He also observed displays of psychic telepathy, automatic writing and table tipping, and became convinced that there was an unseen world out there.

Conan Doyle was found clutching his chest in the hall of Windlesham, his house in Crowborough, East Sussex, on 7 July 1930. He had died of a heart attack aged 71. His last words were directed towards his wife: "You are wonderful` which, of course, proved him as a loving husband. On his death anniversary, we remember the king of detective novel with huge respect.


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