- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930)
One of seven children, Doyle was born on 22 May, 1859, the son and grandson of artists (his grandfather was a political cartoonist in "Punch" magazine). He was educated at Stoneyhurst and studied medicine at Edinburgh University>. After a spell as ship's surgeon on a whaling ship, he worked as a doctor from 1882-90 in practices in Southsea and London. But the success of his early fiction encouraged him to give this up and devote himself to writing.
His first short story was published in 1879. His early stories such as "A Study in Scarlet"> (1887) and "Sign of the Four"> (1890) introduced Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson for the first time. Holmes was based on a forensic medicine teacher at Edinburgh University, Dr Joseph Bell. The name Holmes had been derived from the American author Oliver Wendell Holmes. His "The White Company"> set in the Hundred Years' War was regarded as one of the outstanding historical novels of his time. But it was "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes"> published in the Strand Magazine from 1891 to 1893 which gave him immediate, widespread fame. He killed off Holmes in 1893 but he reappeared in "The Hound of the Baskervilles"> published in 1902.
In 1896 Doyle became a war correspondent in the Sudan and he served as a doctor in the 1899-1902 Boer War in South Africa. He was knighted in 1902 for his service in the war. He wrote a history of the Boer War which proved popular at the time and as a war correspondent he later wrote an account of the British campaign in France and Flanders. His interest in spiritualism became known during World War I and he wrote a number of books on the subject. In 1927 the Sherlock Holmes stories were published as "The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes.">
Doyle was married twice and died in Sussex in 1930.
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