Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Brief Bio of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a truly prolific writer, publishing his first short story, "The Mystery of Sasassa Valley" in 1879 before he was 20 years old. He was still in medical school at the University of Edinburgh at the time. Throughout his lifetime, he wrote short stories, novels, plays, poems, and pamphlets.

Doyle was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on May 22 1859 and he died at "Windlesham," his home in Crowborough, East Sussex, England, on July 7, 1930 of a heart attack at 71.

Doyle served his community as a medical doctor, but while waiting for patients to show up, he had plenty of time to write his short stories.. He created the character of Sherlock Holmes in one of his early stories and just kept writing about him, despite his attempt to kill him off. The public would have nothing to do with that, so he kept writing.

Doyle's most famous character was based on Dr. Joseph Bell, Conan Doyle's favorite professor at medical school. Bell's obvious use of inferences using deduction, logic, and observation became the basis for the character.

Conan Doyle wrote four novels and six short story collections totaling 56 stories. Here is the listing featuring Sherlock Holmes (his name has been abbreviated to SH in the listing):

1887 A Study in Scarlet
1892 A Sign of Four
1892 The Adventures of SH
1894 The Memoirs of SH
1902 The House of the Baskervilles
1905 The Return of SH
1915 The Valley of Fear
1917 His Last Bow
1927 The Case-book of SH
1928 The Complete SH Short Stories

Many of these stories have been brought to the screen since the 1930s staring Basil Rathbone, later with Jeremy Britt, and lately with Robert Downey, Jr.