Arthur Conan Doyle by Jon Lellenberg
A Life in Letters

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Synopsis

This remarkable annotated collection of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's previously unpublished private correspondence offers unique insight into one of the world's most popular authors. For the first time, Conan Doyle emerges from the shadow of Sherlock Holmes, revealing a man whose character and exploits rival that of his famous creation. In particular, Conan Doyle's correspondence with his mother exposes his endless search for fulfillment and success outside the Holmes stories.

At age sixteen Conan Doyle began studying medicine at Edinburgh University. Just months shy of graduating, he made the adventurous decision to accept a position as a surgeon on a whaling ship heading to the Arctic. He returned to Edinburgh, graduated, and struggled to establish his own medical practice while simultaneously writing and promoting his stories. He suffered years of disappointment as both doctor and author; yet, to his amazement, just two months after the first Sherlock Holmes short stories, he had garnered such a following that he completely abandoned medicine for literature.

As the public clamored endlessly for Sherlock Holmes, Conan Doyle explored other pursuits: He was a doctor during the Boer War, a World War I correspondent, and the foremost spokesman for Spiritualism. As his life changed, Doyle's correspondence with his mother remained constant. In his letters to "the Mam," Doyle shares the dismay he felt over the critical reception of his other writing, and as his irritation with the Holmes adventures mounts he announces his desire to kill off the character. She is his confidante and trusted counsel throughout her long life.

The editors are known for their expertise and scholarship on the works of Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes. Daniel Stashower is an award-winning mystery novelist and author of Teller of Tales, a widely praised biography of Conan Doyle. Jon Lellenberg is the U.S. agent for the Conan Doyle estate and author of The Quest for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Charles Foley is the writer's great-nephew and executor of the estate. Arthur Conan Doyle: A Life in Letters will be a must-have collection for readers interested in the author, Sherlock Holmes, and the Victorian era.

 

About Jon Lellenberg

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The authors, Daniel Stashower, Jon Lellenberg, and Charles Foley, are premier scholars and experts on both Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes. Daniel Stashower, most recently the author of The Beautiful Cigar Girl, is an award-winning mystery novelist, an Edgar Award winner and the recipient of the Raymond Chandler Fulbright Fellowship in Detective and Crime Fiction Writing. He is also the author of Teller of Tales, a widely praised biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Jon Lellenberg is the U.S agent for the Conan Doyle estate and coeditor of a number of anthologies of new Sherlock Holmes stories by mystery writers, as well as the historian of the Baker Street Irregulars. Charles Foley is the great-nephew of Arthur Conan Doyle and great-grandson of Mary Foley Doyle, as well as the present executor of the Conan Doyle Estate.
 
Published January 1, 2007 by The Penguin Press. 706 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Arthur Conan Doyle

Kirkus Reviews

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Trained as a physician, he struggled for years toward literary success before achieving it overnight in 1891 with the Strand’s publication of “A Scandal in Bohemia.” Apart from producing a great deal of other writing—humor, fantasy, science fiction and the historical novels he hoped would be his ...

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The New York Times

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Jon Lellenberg (the American agent of the Conan Doyle estate), Daniel Stashower (author of a 1999 biography, “Teller of Tales: The Life of Arthur Conan Doyle”) and Charles Foley (Conan Doyle’s great-nephew and the estate’s present executor) have assembled a 706-page volume of correspondence, “Art...

Dec 30 2007 | Read Full Review of Arthur Conan Doyle: A Life in...

Publishers Weekly

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Doyle's first novel, written when he was 23 years old, was lost in the mail, but the author later recreated most of it.

Jul 16 2012 | Read Full Review of Arthur Conan Doyle: A Life in...

Publishers Weekly

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Even if this diary of the 19th-century whaling ship Hope's Arctic exploits didn't come from Sherlock Holmes' creator, it would still make fascinating reading, especially for Patrick O'Brian fans.

Dec 03 2012 | Read Full Review of Arthur Conan Doyle: A Life in...

Reviewing the Evidence

For those readers who like to delve into the private lives of authors, A LIFE IN LETTERS is a wonderful foray into the mind of the man who created Sherlock Holmes and so much more.

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