Collection: Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle

ir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle was born on May 25, 1859 in Edinburgh Scotland, the son of Irish Catholics. At the age of 9 he was sent to a Jesuit boarding school in England, where he found a penchant and liking for telling stories.

After graduation he attended medical school. While in medical school he met authors James Barrie and Robert Louis Stevenson. He received his degree in 1880 and his medical career involved stints in private practice, ship’s surgeon on a ship voyaging to the Arctic Circle, a combat surgeon during the Boer’s Wars, and one private practice where he ended up not seeing any patients.

While he continued writing during this time it was 1887 before he published his first Sherlock Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet, which appeared in Beeton’s Christmas Annual. The character was heavily influenced by his favorite professor from medical school who was a master at observation, logic, deduction, and diagnosis.

The great success of Sherlock Holmes led to a dichotomy for the author in which his detective stories became great commercial successes while the novels he loved to write did not have the same commercial success. He also was more well-known initially in America than he was in his home country.

The Sign of Four, his most ambitious Sherlock novel to date led him to acquire a representative which resulted in a deal with Strand Magazine to publish his stories on a regular basis. In 1891, after a severe case of influenza, he decided to write full time and he discontinued his medical practice.

The Final Problem, published in December 1893, had been Doyle’s effort to rid himself of the task of writing about his most famous character and Holmes, along with his nemesis Moriarty, plunged to their deaths at The Reichenbach Falls.

Doyle wasn’t able to completely escape from writing additional Holme’s stories after this, but he did eventually find the time to create another larger than life character, Professor George Edward Challenger. The Lost World, published in 1912, brought this character to life and met with great commercial success as well. The boy’s story—there was no sci-fi genre at the time—spawned three more novels as well as similar stories in what became known as the Lost World genre where dinosaurs, lost tribes, and lost lands became the setting for many adventures. Books, movies and TV shows for the next 100 years used this as fertile ground for creating exciting stories and wonderful adventures.

Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle