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Arthur Conan Doyle

Born: Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was an English novelist who is widely known as the creator of the detective Sherlock Holmes. Doyle was also a medical doctor. His first story featuring Holmes, A Study in Scarlet, appeared in Beeton's Christmas Annual in 1887. After 1890 he pursued writing full time, completing such further Holmes adventures as The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (1894), the popular The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902), and his last book featuring the detective, The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes (1927). Doyle wrote 4 novels and 56 stories involving Holmes. Blessed with an acute sense of deductive reasoning, Holmes, with his genial but less quick-witted companion, Dr. Watson, devises ingenious solutions to complex cases, some involving his archenemy Professor Moriarty. When Doyle tired of the detective in 1893 and attempted to kill him off, public outcry necessitated The Return of Sherlock Holmes (1904).

Ironically, Doyle did not want to be remembered for his detective stories but for what he viewed as his more notable work, the historical novels Sir Nigel (1906), Micah Clarke (1889), and The White Company (1890); yet these works are less known today. Doyle also wrote other tales of mystery and adventure, including the science-fiction novels featuring Professor Challenger: The Lost World (1911; films, 1925, 1960, 1993, 1998) and The Poison Belt (1912). Knighted in 1902, Doyle wrote two pamphlets condoning England's role in the Boer War. After his son died in World War I, Doyle found comfort in the study of spiritualism and later published History of Spiritualism (2 vols., 1926-27). In 1924 his autobiographical Memories and Adventures appeared.

This biography was written by D. Martin Dakin for Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia. For more information on this resource, visit Grolier Online .