Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was born in Edinburgh in 1859 and died in 1930. His life was crowded with a variety of activity and creative work that made him an international figure and inspired the French to give him the epithet 'the good giant'. He was educated at Stonyhurst, and later studied medicine at Edinburgh University. There, one of the professors' methods of diagnosis provided the idea for the methods of deduction that would later be used by Sherlock Holmes.
Doyle began his career as a doctor at Southsea and it was while waiting for patients that he began to write. Over time, his growing success as an author enabled him to give up his practice and turn his attention to other subjects. He was a passionate advocate of many causes, ranging from divorce law reform to the issuing of inflatable life jackets to sailors. He also campaigned to prove the innocence of individuals, and his work on the Edjalji case was instrumental in the introduction of the Court of Criminal Appeal. He was a volunteer physician in the Boer War and later in life became a convert to spiritualism.
His greatest achievement was, of course, his creation of Sherlock Holmes, who soon attained international status and constantly distracted him from his other work. At one time, Doyle killed him off, but then he was obliged by public protest to restore his character to life. In his creation of Dr. Watson, Holmes's chronicler and companion in adventure, Doyle produced not only a perfect contrast for Holmes, but also one of the most famous narrators in fiction. The great books of Sherlock Holmes are:
- A Study in Scarlet (1887)
- The Sign of Four (1890)
- The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1892)
- The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (1894)
- The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902)
- The Return of Sherlock Holmes (1905)
- The Valley of Fear (1915)
- The Last Bow (1917)
- The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes (1927)
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