Arthur and Sherlock by Michael Sims
Conan Doyle and the Creation of Holmes

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This is the puzzle Michael Sims sets out to solve, with all the brilliance of Sherlock himself, in “Arthur and Sherlock: Conan Doyle and the Creation of Holmes.” Sims’s magnificent work of scholarship isn’t a birth-to-death biography of Conan Doyle but a more specific investigation into the events leading up to those fateful weeks...
-NY Times

Synopsis

From Michael Sims, the acclaimed author of The Story of Charlotte's Web, the rich, true tale tracing the young Arthur Conan Doyle's creation of Sherlock Holmes and the modern detective story.

As a young medical student, Arthur Conan Doyle studied in Edinburgh under the vigilant eye of a diagnostic genius, Dr. Joseph Bell. Doyle often observed Bell identifying a patient's occupation, hometown, and ailments from the smallest details of dress, gait, and speech. Although Doyle was training to be a surgeon, he was meanwhile cultivating essential knowledge that would feed his epistolary dreams and help him develop the most iconic detective in fiction.

Michael Sims traces the circuitous development of Conan Doyle as the father of the modern mystery, from his early days in Edinburgh surrounded by poverty and violence, through his escape to University (where he gained terrifying firsthand knowledge of poisons), leading to his own medical practice in 1882. Five hardworking years later--after Doyle's only modest success in both medicine and literature--Sherlock Holmes emerged in A Study in Scarlet. Sims deftly shows Holmes to be a product of Doyle's varied lessons in the classroom and professional life, as well as built out of the traditions of Edgar Allan Poe, Émile Gaboriau, Wilkie Collins, and Charles Dickens--not just a skillful translator of clues, but a veritable superhero of the mind in the tradition of Doyle's esteemed teacher.

Filled with details that will surprise even the most knowledgeable Sherlockian, Arthur and Sherlock is a literary genesis story for detective fans everywhere.
 

About Michael Sims

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Michael Sims is the author of acclaimed nonfiction books such as Apollo’s Fire and Adam’s Navel, and the editor of anthologies including The Dead Witness and Dracula’s Guest, connoisseurs’ collections of Victorian detective and vampire stories, respectively. He lives near Pittsburgh.
 
Published January 24, 2017 by Bloomsbury USA. 238 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Arthur and Sherlock
All: 6 | Positive: 6 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Excellent
on Oct 20 2016

The author’s deeply researched but reader-friendly take on Doyle and Holmes fits nicely along recent books by Michael Dirda and Barry Grant, and it stands, like Samuel Rosenberg’s centrifugal book Naked Is the Best Disguise (1974), as a work of literature all its own.

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Publishers Weekly

Good
on Aug 24 2017

Sims’s skill and deftness with narrative biography will lead Sherlockians to hope that he continues the story of Conan Doyle’s life in a future volume.

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Star Tribune

Good
Reviewed by Curt Schleier on Feb 03 2017

Sims combines extensive scholarship with excellent writing and organizational skills to produce a work that is not only informative but eminently readable.

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NY Times

Good
Reviewed by GRAHAM MOORE on Jan 26 2017

This is the puzzle Michael Sims sets out to solve, with all the brilliance of Sherlock himself, in “Arthur and Sherlock: Conan Doyle and the Creation of Holmes.” Sims’s magnificent work of scholarship isn’t a birth-to-death biography of Conan Doyle but a more specific investigation into the events leading up to those fateful weeks...

Read Full Review of Arthur and Sherlock: Conan Do... | See more reviews from NY Times

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Ian Thomson on Mar 19 2017

Sims, an anglophile American with a taste for gas-lit murders, need not have cranked up the adjectives. Arthur and Sherlock remains an absorbing tribute to the world’s greatest investigator and his troubled maker.

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National Post arts

Above average
Reviewed by Amy Henderson, Washington Post on Feb 01 2017

...Michael Sims’s engaging new book, Arthur and Sherlock, describes how Arthur Conan Doyle invented his famous detective.

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