Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Doctor, The Detective & Arthur Conan Doyle

Author:         Martin Booth
Published:   1997
Publisher:    Hodder and Stoughton
Hardcover:  384 pages

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A fascinating biography of  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle  who got overshadowed by his fictional yet very realistic creation the ace detective Sherlock Holmes.
The author Martin Booth brings out the multifaceted personality  and talent of Conan Doyle in a very convincing manner.  
He enlightens us on several little-known facts about Conan Doyle -  how  apart from being the author of Sherlock Holmes stories, Conan Doyle was an author of several books of different genres - historical novels, war stories, sports, science fiction (The Lost World),  a military doctor, a war correspondent, a spiritualist, boxer, a first-class cricket player  (see his first-class record at Cricinfo ) who played against the legendary W.G. Grace, and a worker for social justice. 
Of course the background behind the plots and characters of several Sherlock Holmes stories is also dealt with at length.
All these make this book a very interesting read.
The book also has a fairly good selection of photographs of  Conan Doyle, his family and friends, the places associated with him. We also have a photograph of Dr. Joseph Bell who was the main inspiration behind the creation of Sherlock Holmes.
However the book lacks a complete consolidated list of all the works of Conan Doyle. That would have been very useful.
However on the whole I enjoyed reading this book  that  awakened in me a desire to re-read Sherlock Holmes stories and other books by Conan Doyle.

An audio recording of Conan Doyle's voice - Here he describes about the origins of Sherlock Holmes and  his interest in Spiritualism.

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