The Life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle by Michael Coren is a good introduction to the man behind Sherlock Holmes. It is a brief biography that is cogent, succinct, accessible, and complete.
The preface states this is not a literary biography, but he does an admirable job covering Doyle's literary achievements from conception to public response. We learn about the men who inspired his characters and how he came to write The Hound of the Baskervilles.
Doyle's life is more adventurous and passionate than one would have supposed. He was a vital man who enjoyed challenging sports. Bored with his medical studies he signed up on a whaling expedition to the Arctic before he'd completed his degree. He had trouble establishing his medical career and tried his hand at writing stories. He discovered a facility in story-telling that was salable. Coren notes Doyle's strengths and weaknesses as an author.
Doyle was a champion of causes. Although a conservative, some of his causes were remarkably forward thinking such as his work toward fair divorce laws for women. He himself never considered divorcing his own wife when he fell in love with another woman; Doyle gave his ailing wife constant and loyal support, marrying the woman he loved after her death. Raised Catholic he later rejected religion but became deeply interested in spiritualism.
It is interesting to learn that in his later life he himself was involved with solving several crime cases.
The biography is a nice introduction.
I received a free ebook from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a a fair and unbiased review.
Endeavor Press is the U.K.'s largest digital publisher.
The Life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
by Michael Coren
Publication Date October 9, 2015
Read my blog post on The Immortal Sherlock Holmes here.