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The Doctor and the Detective: A Biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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This entertaining, smart biography of Arthur Conan Doyle presents a modern day interpretation of the man who, contrary to his best efforts, will always be known as the creator of the great detective, Sherlock Holmes. Doyle was, however, much more, as Booth shows us in this intriguing study of a man who thrived on the times in which he lived. While Holmes fans will be capti This entertaining, smart biography of Arthur Conan Doyle presents a modern day interpretation of the man who, contrary to his best efforts, will always be known as the creator of the great detective, Sherlock Holmes. Doyle was, however, much more, as Booth shows us in this intriguing study of a man who thrived on the times in which he lived. While Holmes fans will be captivated by the various tidbits that offer insight into their hero's creation; others will be fascinated by this living embodiment of the Victorian masculine ideal.


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This entertaining, smart biography of Arthur Conan Doyle presents a modern day interpretation of the man who, contrary to his best efforts, will always be known as the creator of the great detective, Sherlock Holmes. Doyle was, however, much more, as Booth shows us in this intriguing study of a man who thrived on the times in which he lived. While Holmes fans will be capti This entertaining, smart biography of Arthur Conan Doyle presents a modern day interpretation of the man who, contrary to his best efforts, will always be known as the creator of the great detective, Sherlock Holmes. Doyle was, however, much more, as Booth shows us in this intriguing study of a man who thrived on the times in which he lived. While Holmes fans will be captivated by the various tidbits that offer insight into their hero's creation; others will be fascinated by this living embodiment of the Victorian masculine ideal.

30 review for The Doctor and the Detective: A Biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kevin A.

    A most enjoyable book about the surprisingly likable Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; indeed, he is probably more likable here than he would be portrayed now, since the family archives were opened following the death of his final daughter shortly after this book was published. (Doyle had met the woman was to be his second wife while his first wife was enduring decade-plus battle with TB. Doyle waited until her death to formally begin his relationship with wife number two, but he certainly saw her beforeh A most enjoyable book about the surprisingly likable Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; indeed, he is probably more likable here than he would be portrayed now, since the family archives were opened following the death of his final daughter shortly after this book was published. (Doyle had met the woman was to be his second wife while his first wife was enduring decade-plus battle with TB. Doyle waited until her death to formally begin his relationship with wife number two, but he certainly saw her beforehand as well, although the precise nature the relationship is open to speculation.) Doyle reminds one of Teddy Roosevelt--in the context of his times, forward-thinking and full of energy. They were of the same generation very close in age, although Doyle's family lived on the brink of impoverishment. His experience in the Boer War serves to have taught him the opposite lesson that Roosevelt learned in Cuba. In other ways he was a man of his times--he seems to have held a particularly dim view of Native Americans for some reason. And his rejection of his native hidebound Catholicism is undermined by his subsequent embrace of spiritualism.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Todd Stockslager

    Well-done story of an intriguing and ultimately bizarre life. Conan Doyle became rich and famous writing Sherlock Holmes, but also wrote many other books on history, historical fiction...and spiritism, to which he devoted the last 20 years of his life. A true 19th century gentleman of honor, chivalry, and blue-blood Anglicism, Doyle tired of Holmes and longed for recognition for his other, more "literary", writings, but knew as well that Holmes lined his pockets and gave him his platform. In Sher Well-done story of an intriguing and ultimately bizarre life. Conan Doyle became rich and famous writing Sherlock Holmes, but also wrote many other books on history, historical fiction...and spiritism, to which he devoted the last 20 years of his life. A true 19th century gentleman of honor, chivalry, and blue-blood Anglicism, Doyle tired of Holmes and longed for recognition for his other, more "literary", writings, but knew as well that Holmes lined his pockets and gave him his platform. In Sherlock Holmes Was Wrong: Reopening the Case of the Hound of the Baskervilles, Bayard analyzes this ambivalence in a fascinating higher criticism of "Hound" to find hidden meaning between the lines. Doyle's father was an alcoholic of only modest success and even more modest means in a family of successful artists who moved in higher circles. Doyle struggled financially as a doctor for several years before finding his true calling as an author, and his financial security as the creator of Holmes. Booth reveals a deep and interesting individual worthy of his creation.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rena Sherwood

    Arguably the best biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle yet written. Also has a lot of information about Sherlock Holmes.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ben Truong

    The Doctor and the Detective: A Biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is a biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a British writer and physician. Martin Booth was a British novelist and poet, who wrote this biography. Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle was a British writer and physician. He created the character Sherlock Holmes in 1887 for A Study in Scarlet, the first of four novels and fifty-six short stories about Holmes and Dr. Watson. The Sherlock Holmes stories are considered milestones in the field o The Doctor and the Detective: A Biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is a biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a British writer and physician. Martin Booth was a British novelist and poet, who wrote this biography. Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle was a British writer and physician. He created the character Sherlock Holmes in 1887 for A Study in Scarlet, the first of four novels and fifty-six short stories about Holmes and Dr. Watson. The Sherlock Holmes stories are considered milestones in the field of crime fiction. Famous for creating Sherlock Holmes, Conan Doyle grew quickly frustrated with the way his creation would eclipse everything he is known for, but could not do without him. Booth investigates Conan Doyle and his creation with shrewd detachment, including the possible link between Holmes' cocaine habit and Conan Doyle's old medical partner. Conan Doyle's achievements minus the Great Detective would have been respectable: writing everything from serious historical novels to proto-science fiction, running for Parliament, serving in the Boer War, lobbying for such social reforms as divorce laws, investigating wrongful convictions, observing the front lines in the Great War, and many more things. The Doctor and the Detective: A Biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is written and researched rather well. Booth admirably tires to fit Doyle's extensive life into a biography, from world traveler, photographer, physician, wartime correspondent, amateur detective, patriotic booster, and, finally, writer of some of world's best and worst genre fiction are so varied that even the best biographers would find it difficult to squeeze everything in. Even so, Booth manages to set some records straight, reprint some legends, celebrate his Doyle's triumphs, mourn his embarrassments, and explain his enduring popularity. Doyle emerges as an honorable pillar of Victorian pride and prejudice, even when he wrote ineptly and let others play him for a fool. All in all, The Doctor and the Detective: A Biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is a well researched and interesting look into the life of Arthur Conan Doyle.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Starfish

    This book taught me a lot that I didn't know about Conan Doyle's public and private life, but ultimately, although interesting, I just found it irritating. Booth doesn't understand the Victorian mindset at all, and was constantly being surprised at decisions or actions of Conan Doyle and his family that were only natural given their time. I also found his constant need to excuse Conan Doyle of anti-feminist and racist stereotypes absurd -- surely we are capable of seeing the man in the context o This book taught me a lot that I didn't know about Conan Doyle's public and private life, but ultimately, although interesting, I just found it irritating. Booth doesn't understand the Victorian mindset at all, and was constantly being surprised at decisions or actions of Conan Doyle and his family that were only natural given their time. I also found his constant need to excuse Conan Doyle of anti-feminist and racist stereotypes absurd -- surely we are capable of seeing the man in the context of his own time without constant apologies? Actually, I found this book pretty insulting to both Conan Doyle, and to Booth's readers. Style was pretty good, and the book was well organised chronologically. However, by recurring to constant themes throughtout the book as they reoccurred within Conan Doyle's life, Booth repeated and sometimes even contradicted himself. I was also irritated by his refusal to make assessments -- Booth would not speculate whether or not Waller and Conan Doyle's mother had an affair, for example, claiming the age difference made it impossible. Seriously, if you are going to write this book, be prepared to have opinions on it. I was further irritated by the fact that in a later chapter, Booth came back and said that yes, an affair was likely -- but never shared what changed his mind with us. A good book, but not one I can recommend, or say that I will read again. This is free to a good home if anyone wants it -- please let me know!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    A very long, comprehensive, and at times fascinating account of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's life. Well researched and exhaustively so - so much that the reader is at times overwhelmed by the detail. Or at least I was, needing to put it down for a break. Still, Booth's done an excellent job in describing Coyle: the man who created the legend of Sherlock Holmes, all the while resenting his literary success (and financial fortune) on this one character and not, as he wanted, for all of his other works A very long, comprehensive, and at times fascinating account of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's life. Well researched and exhaustively so - so much that the reader is at times overwhelmed by the detail. Or at least I was, needing to put it down for a break. Still, Booth's done an excellent job in describing Coyle: the man who created the legend of Sherlock Holmes, all the while resenting his literary success (and financial fortune) on this one character and not, as he wanted, for all of his other works of fiction. A terrific book, but also a difficult read because it often felt like a slog rather than a pleasure to finish. Booth's other books I've read and admired - including his fascinating history of Opium - but they haven't felt so weighty; this I suppose reflects just how much work he put into his research.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Martin Ortiz

    This was a good, basic biography but could have used a bit of the verve Conan Doyle gave to his work. It spoke of his adventures and productivity but I was unfulfilled, feeling that it did not question his life, but rather it just reported it. What do I mean by that? What made him tick. How did he really feel about having a consumptive wife and an alcoholic father? I felt there were unexamined passions and conflicts rumbling beneath his stoic personality. On the other hand, as a description of a This was a good, basic biography but could have used a bit of the verve Conan Doyle gave to his work. It spoke of his adventures and productivity but I was unfulfilled, feeling that it did not question his life, but rather it just reported it. What do I mean by that? What made him tick. How did he really feel about having a consumptive wife and an alcoholic father? I felt there were unexamined passions and conflicts rumbling beneath his stoic personality. On the other hand, as a description of a man who was part Dr. Watson, Sherlock Holmes (just a little) and Professor Challenger delighted the schoolboy in me.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    it was good. A little dry in places but that could be cause I could care less about his university experience and military service and was more interested about how he wrote Holmes! I don't really know what to say about a biography. It was interesting and told about Conan Doyle. I found it interesting. it was good. A little dry in places but that could be cause I could care less about his university experience and military service and was more interested about how he wrote Holmes! I don't really know what to say about a biography. It was interesting and told about Conan Doyle. I found it interesting.

  9. 4 out of 5

    gramakri

    A fascinating biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who got overshadowed by his fictional yet very realistic creation the ace detective Sherlock Holmes. For more details visit http://bookwormsrecos.blogspot.in/201... A fascinating biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who got overshadowed by his fictional yet very realistic creation the ace detective Sherlock Holmes. For more details visit http://bookwormsrecos.blogspot.in/201...

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    Dull book about an interesting man.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Vicki

    Interesting reading the biography of the man who created one of my favorite characters, Sherlock Holmes!!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Shaffer

  13. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

  14. 4 out of 5

    Erik

  15. 4 out of 5

    TheRavenking

  16. 5 out of 5

    Deborah

  17. 4 out of 5

    Katie

  18. 4 out of 5

    Erika

  19. 4 out of 5

    John Ervin

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jade

  21. 5 out of 5

    TomD

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

  23. 4 out of 5

    jennet wheatstonelllsl

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Lamb

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sun

  26. 4 out of 5

    Braden

  27. 5 out of 5

    Valorie

  28. 5 out of 5

    Diane

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sherry Harding

  30. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

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