Arthur Conan Doyle (2004)
Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle was born on May 22, 1859, in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Doyles were a Irish-Catholic family. His father suffered from epilepsy and alcoholism and was eventually institutionalized.
He was mainly brought up in Jesuit boarding schools. During this period Doyle lost his belief in the Roman Catholic faith, but the training of the Jesuits influenced deeply his mental development. He entered the University of Edinburgh in 1881, receiving a medical degree in 1885.
He began writing while still in school in order to earn money, and sold his first story The Mystery of the Sasassa Valley to Chambers' Journal in 1879.
After graduation Doyle opened a medical practice in Southsea, Portsmouth, his practice was ''never very absorbing'', at least at first, and he began writing novels in his spare time.
First story about Sherlock Holmes, A Study in Scarlet, was published in 1887 in 'Beeton Christmas Annual'. The novel introduced the detective and Dr. Watson, his good-natured question-raising friend. Their major opponent was the evil genius Moriarty, the classic villain and a kind of doppelganger of Holmes.
The second Sherlock Holmes story, The sign of the four, in 1890 under encouragement from the American publisher Lippincott. The story collects a colourful group of people together, among them Jonathan Small who has a wooden leg and a dwarf from Tonga islands.
The first Sherlock Holmes short story was published in ''The Strand Magazine'' in 1891.
Doyle was married to Louis Hawkins in 1885, and had two children with her; she was seriously ill eight years later and died in 1900. Doyle married again to Jean Leckie in 1907 and fathered three more children.
Following his first wife's death, when the Boer war started, Doyle sailed for South Africa as a doctor and unofficial diplomat, and eventually wrote a definitive account called The Great Boer War.
When his son died in the First World War, Doyle's lifelong interest in spiritualism developed into
a consuming passion.
After Jean died on the 4th of July 1906, Conan Doyle slipped into a debilitating state of depression which lasted many months.
In 1894 Doyle killed off Sherlock Holmes, in The Final Problem, public outcry was so great that Doyle was forced to explain away Holmes' death and continue his career.
In The hound of Baskervilles (1902) Doyle narrated an early case of dead detective The ingenious murder weapon in the story is an animal. Because of public demand Doyle resurrected his popular hero in The Empty House (1903).
In these following stories Holmes stopped using cocaine, but although Doyle's later works have been criticized, several of them, including The Three Garridebs, The Adventure of the Illustrious Client, and The Veiled Lodger, are highly enjoyable. Sherlock Holmes short stories were collected in five books.
Conan Doyle's other publications include plays, verse, memoirs, short stories, and several historical novels and supernatural and speculative fiction.
Doyle died on July 7, 1930 from heart disease at his home, Windlesham, Sussex.
Annate: 2004 (3)