Pimlico £14.99 (516pp) (free p&p) from the Independent Bookshop : 08430 600 030
The Adventures of Arthur Conan Doyle, By Russell Miller
Friday 04 September 2009
Allowed access to the Conan Doyle archive of Richard Lancelyn Green, whose probable suicide seems contrived as a Holmesian mystery, Miller has produced an epic portrait, though the Holmes yarns are treated somewhat sketchily.
He might have mentioned that the "flickering flame" around the muzzle of the Hound of the Baskervilles was caused by phosphorus that would have poisoned the dog.
Errors in the Holmes canon resulted from Conan Doyle's indifference to work that did "little to enhance his literary status". More mystifying is his belief in spiritualism, explored in depth.
Another detective writer reinforced his devotion to "psychic science". When Agatha Christie went missing in 1926, a medium told him: "You will hear of her next Wednesday." She turned up on that day in Harrogate.
Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treattv
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