1 December 2012

MYSTERY WRITERS OF THE PAST-Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle (1859-1930)

As a mystery writer, I've always been interested in mystery writers of the past.  Once such figure is, Scottish physician and writer, Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle.  Perhaps better known as Conan Doyle, the creator of that famous fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes.

Sherlock Holmes
Like so many of us, Conan Doyle didn't start out to be a writer, but a physician.  After studying medicine at the University of Edinburgh, he commenced his medical career as ship's doctor on the SS Majumba, travelling to the West Coast of Africa in 1881.  On his return in 1882, he set up a medical practice in Southsea, Portsmouth.  It was there he started to write while waiting for his medical practice to grow. The results were, The Mystery of Coomber, published in 1888 and, Narrative of John Smith, interestingly not published until 2011.

Conan Doyle's most famous character, Sherlock Holmes, didn't make an appearance until 1887 with the publication of A Study in Scarlet.  A fictional detective famous for his powers of observation and deduction, it's said that Holmes is modeled after Dr Joseph Bell who Conan Doyle had worked for at the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh.

Doyle wrote 4 books and 56 short stories in the Sherlock Holmes mystery series, finishing with the death of Sherlock Holmes as well as, his nemisis, Professor Moriarty.  Such was the popularity of the series, however, Conan Doyle wrote another Holmes story in 1901 entitled, The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Conan Doyle's home-Little Windlesham
Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle died on 7th July 1930.

And would you believe that, like so many of us, he found it difficult to find someone to publish his work when he was starting out!

Other mystery writers of the past:-
NGAIO MARSH 1895-1982


  1. Very interesting information Jill. It surprises me that I did not at first recognize the author's name since Sherlock Holmes is so well known. I read his books in my youth and when I first read your intriguing murder mysteries, they reminded me of his series...mystery with an enjoyable British accent. Am looking forward to reading the third book in your Australian accented Fitzjohn series.

  2. My husband's favourite author, he loves Sherlock Holmes xx Thanks for popping over to our weekly book blog hop this week xx