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About the Author: Arthur Conan Doyle

Arthur Conan Doyle was born the third of ten siblings on 22 May 1859 in Edinburgh, Scotland. His father, Charles Altamont Doyle, was born in England of Irish descent, and his mother, born Mary Foley, was Irish. They were married in 1855.

Although he is now referred to as "Conan Doyle", the origin of this compound surname (if that is how he meant it to be understood) is uncertain. His baptism record in the registry of St Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh gives 'Arthur Ignatius Conan' as his Christian name, and simply 'Doyle' as his surname. It also names Michael Conan as his godfather.

At the age of nine Conan Doyle was sent to the Roman Catholic Jesuit preparatory school, Hodder Place, Stonyhurst. He then went on to Stonyhurst College, leaving in 1875.

From 1876 to 1881 he studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh. This required that he provide periodic medical assistance in the towns of Aston (now a district of Birmingham) and Sheffield. While studying, Conan Doyle began writing short stories. His first published story appeared in "Chambers's Edinburgh Journal" before he was 20. Following his graduation, he was employed as a ship's doctor on the SS Mayumba during a voyage to the West African coast. He completed his doctorate on the subject of tabes dorsalis in 1885.

In 1885 Conan Doyle married Louisa (or Louise) Hawkins, known as "Touie". She suffered from tuberculosis and died on 4 July 1906. The following year he married Jean Elizabeth Leckie, whom he had first met and fallen in love with in 1897. Due to his sense of loyalty he had maintained a purely platonic relationship with Jean while his first wife was alive. Jean died in London on 27 June 1940.

Conan Doyle fathered five children. Two with his first wife—Mary Louise (28 January 1889 – 12 June 1976), and Arthur Alleyne Kingsley, known as Kingsley (15 November 1892 – 28 October 1918). With his second wife he had three children—Denis Percy Stewart (17 March 1909 – 9 March 1955), second husband in 1936 of Georgian Princess Nina Mdivani (circa 1910 – 19 February 1987; former sister-in-law of Barbara Hutton); Adrian Malcolm (19 November 1910–3 June 1970) and Jean Lena Annette (21 December 1912–18 November 1997).

Conan Doyle was found clutching his chest in the hall of Windlesham, his house in Crowborough, East Sussex, on 7 July 1930. He had died of a heart attack at age 71. His last words were directed toward his wife: "You are wonderful." The epitaph on his gravestone in the churchyard at Minstead in the New Forest, Hampshire, reads:


Conan Doyle's house, Undershaw, located in Hindhead, south of London, where he had lived for a decade, had been a hotel and restaurant between 1924 and 2004. It now stands empty while conservationists and Conan Doyle fans fight to preserve it.

A statue honours Conan Doyle at Crowborough Cross in Crowborough, where Conan Doyle lived for 23 years. There is also a statue of Sherlock Holmes in Picardy Place, Edinburgh, close to the house where Conan Doyle was born.

* Sherlock Holmes

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Paperback, Published in Jun 2005 by Impala

ISBN10: 0954994345 | ISBN13: 9780954994341

Page count: 153

Sportsman, doctor, historian and writer, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) created one of the most enduring - indeed, legendary - characters in English literature: Sherlock Holmes, the brilliantly observational denizen of 221B Baker Street. Conan Doyle was born of Irish parents in Edinburgh and educated partly in Great Britain and partly in Germany. He qualified as a medical doctor in Southsea, but the absence of both patients and revenue persuaded him, as he himself has related, to turn his daydreams into imaginative writings. The result was a true stroke of genius, the creation of the great detective and his honest, down-to-earth colleague and 'chronicler', Dr Watson. In addition to his works of fiction, Conan Doyle was also a superb physical specimen and an avid boxer. In 1894 at Davos, Switzerland, he invented and subsequently popularized the concept of skiing as a sport. He also served as an army doctor in the war between England and the Boers of South Africa at the beginning of the 20th century, wrote a history of that war and was appointed official War Historian of the 1914-18 World War. His keen sense of justice involved him in two notorious cases of mistaken identity, those of Edaljee in 1903 and Oscar Slater in 1909. Conan Doyle personally, at his own expense, fought the courts on behalf of these two men, both total strangers to him, because he felt that they had been wrongfully convicted. Conan Doyle was an idealist who believed in his country and 'fair play'. In his writings, women tend to be modest, charming, faithful, beautiful and in need of defence. Gentlemen are honest, altruistic, gallant and brilliant. But Conan Doyle's fertile brain also conjured up an opposing criminal class of extraordinary depravity and ingenuity, led by the diabolical and brilliant Professor Moriarty, Holmes's arch enemy. From Buzan's Book of Genius, by Tony Buzan and Raymond Keene.

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