CONAN DOYLE: A Biography by Pierre Nordon

CONAN DOYLE: A Biography

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The creator of Sherlock Holmes and his heirs know the value of evidence. Arthur Conan Doyle, an admirable and stubborn man, left his biographical records in the charge of his family and more than one would-be biographer has had trouble getting to his archives and maintaining freedom of interpretation. Mr. Nordon, a professor in France, appears to have had full family cooperation. But then, he has produced an adulatory account of the private man and much praise for his writing. The result strains at reader patience because of the partisanship and the arrangement. Throughout the first half of the book, Mr. Nordon adapts the psychographic method, which slices the subject into sections--Conan Doyle the Patriot, then as Lover of Justice, then as Prophet. This scatters the chronology and makes for repetition. The second half of the book examines the Holmes stories and the legendary effect they have had on detection in fiction and in practice with other chapters on the historical novels and Conan Doyle's magazine writing. The second half of the book is thus a literary monograph, while the first is less than successful biography. Both John Dickson Carr and Hesketh Pearson have written more readably on this subject, more critically and less defensively of Conan Doyle's paradoxical crusade for spiritualism.

Pub Date: July 17th, 1967
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston