Call for Holmes: Conan Doyle is accused of betrayal and murder

Investigators are attempting to show once and for all that the creator of Sherlock Holmes was involved in a dark plot to bump off a former editor of the Daily Express - the man who should truly be acknowledged as the creator of the Hound of the Baskervilles.

In a bizarre scenario that Holmes himself might have appreciated, it is alleged that Bertram Fletcher Robinson was poisoned with laudanum, administered by his wife under the instruction of Conan Doyle.

The motive, the investigators allege, was to cover up the theft of the Baskervilles tale and silence the true source of the story. Next week the investigators will make a formal application to the Diocese of Exeter to dig up Fletcher Robinson's corpse. Officially the cause of death was typhoid.

Paul Spiring, a scientist coordinating the investigation, said: "If you take a purely objective, scientific view of our findings, the evidence of a cover-up is irrefutable."

Some of the allegations were outlined by the author Rodger Garrick-Steele in his book House of the Baskervilles, but Mr Spiring carried out his own investigations after becoming intrigued when he moved to the village of Ipplepen, where Fletcher Robinson is buried.

Conan Doyle and the journalist visited Dartmoor together, and Baskerville was the surname of Fletcher Robinson's coachman. A footnote to the first edition of Hound of the Baskervilles acknowledges his contribution: "This story owes its inception to my friend Fletcher Robinson who has helped me."

But the fullness of his debt became lost in later reprints. In a letter to his mother from Dartmoor, Conan Doyle says the book is already half complete - suggesting he may have been working from a manuscript presented to him by Fletcher Robinson.

The investigation team suggests that the journalist's wife may have tipped off Conan Doyle that her husband was unhappy that he was poorly remunerated for his efforts. He then suggested she should slip him laudanum, as he knew its symptoms were similar to typhoid. "We're not saying she was necessarily a co-conspirator in this, really more of a patsy," said Mr Spiring.

Holmes experts have dismissed the claims that Fletcher Robinson may have been the real author as "bunkum".

Arts and Entertainment
By Seuss! ‘What Pet Shall I Get?’ hits the bookshops this week
Books
Arts and Entertainment
The mushroom cloud over Hiroshima after Enola Gray and her crew dropped the bomb
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Elliott outside his stationery store that houses a Post Office
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Rebecca Ferguson, Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible Rogue Nation

Film review Tom Cruise, 50, is still like a puppy in this relentless action soap opera

Arts and Entertainment
Rachel McAdams in True Detective season 2

TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

    Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

    I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
    Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

    Margaret Attwood on climate change

    The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
    New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

    New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

    What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
    Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

    The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

    Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
    Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

    Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

    The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
    Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

    Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

    The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
    Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

    Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

    Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
    Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

    Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

    Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
    Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

    Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

    The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
    10 best waterproof mascaras

    Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

    We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
    Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

    Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

    Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
    Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

    England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

    The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
    Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

    Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

    British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
    Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

    Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

    Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
    Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

    Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

    Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'