Wednesday, January 17

Conan Doyle Detective by Peter Costello

Review by Theodore Feit


This is a scholarly attempt to trace the development of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as a writer and of Sherlock Holmes, and to draw parallels between them.  The work also traces any number of actual cases which Conan Doyle investigated himself, and upon which he drew for his various detective stories.


The author relies on a wide variety of sources, documented at the back of the book, to substantiate his thesis: Conan Doyle's literary output directly resulted from his own hidden career as a consulting detective and criminologist.  There certainly are similarities between the deductive reasoning of fictional detective Sherlock Holmes and the methods his creator used in his real-life consultations.


The book traces Conan Doyle's life from that of a young boy to medical school to his medical practice, before he turned his attention full-time to writing.  There are numerous case studies—from Jack the Ripper to Sacco and Vanzetti—to illustrate the interest and ability of Holmes' creator as a criminologist., as well as his fascination with spiritualism in his later life in attempting to draw clues from crimes.


For anyone interested in Sherlock Holmes, this work is a major source of information.


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