Scottish author Sir Conan Arthur Doyle has achieved legendary status, known most famously for his fictional series about detective Sherlock Holmes. Doyle, who was also a physician, is now considered to be possibly the single most influential writer in crime and mystery fiction. Though he wrote many other works of poetry and fiction, Sherlock Holmes remains his trademark—when you think of a great detective, who comes to mind first but Sherlock Holmes and his faithful sidekick Watson? Join us as we celebrate what would have been Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s 154th birthday!
Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Doyle endured a tumultuous home life but was able to attend private school thanks to the support of his wealthy uncles. When he began studying medicine at the University of Edinburgh from 1876 to 1881, he started to write short stories, including his earliest known work of fiction, “The Haunted Grange of Goresthorpe”. During this time, he managed to have some short fiction published, as well as some non-fiction articles regarding medicine.
Doyle later began writing about Sherlock Holmes while struggling to find success running his own medical practice. Once he found a publisher, his work was met with positive reviews, marking the beginning of Doyle’s success writing about Holmes. He went on to feature Holmes in a total of four novels and 56 short stories, quickly creating a legend that still endures in popular culture. With the character’s distinct methods of logical deduction and swift analytical skill, Holmes’ character is sharp and precise—traits that reflect the wit of Doyle himself.
The brilliant character of Holmes has since spawned a number of films, stage adaptations, TV shows, video games, and more. In fact, the first movie about Sherlock Holmes was made in 1900, so Doyle got to see plenty of on-screen versions of his creation. He passed away from a heart attack at the age of 71, uttering his last words to his wife: “You are wonderful.” Doyle’s own work is also pretty wonderful, and here are a few trailers to show how his character has kept escaping the libraries to move on to the big screen…