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NA205012 - DOYLE, A.: Four Short Stories (Unabridged)
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Four Short Stories
The Horror of the Heights
The Terror of Blue John Gap
Lot No. 249
The Sealed Room
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was born in Edinburgh in 1859, the son of a civil
servant. He was educated at Stonyhurst School, and then spent a year in
Austria before taking a degree in medicine at Edinburgh University. His
medical studies, especially the method of diagnosis used by one of his
professors, formed the basis of the deductive methods of his most famous creation, Sherlock Holmes. In 1885, Conan Doyle graduated and began to practice as a doctor in Southsea. He also began to write detective stories:
A Study in Scarlet, which introduced Holmes, appeared in 1887. Many
short stories featuring the hero who was to make Conan Doyle a household name, such as A Scandal In Bohemia and The Man With The Twisted Lip were first published in the Strand Magazine. Those featuring Sherlock Holmes and his fellow sleuth and foil, Dr. Watson, often overshadowed Conan Doyle’s other novels and stories. In 1893 he killed off Holmes (together with the arch-criminal Professor Moriarty) in a drama set in Austria.
But, due to strong public pressure, he had to resurrect Holmes in 1902, in The Hound of the Baskervilles.
Conan Doyle became so successful as an author that he was able to give up medicine and devote his time to many other things. Obviously far ahead of his time, he was a passionate advocate for the Channel Tunnel. He campaigned for divorce law reform and spoke out so forcibly for those who he believed had been wrongly imprisoned, that his efforts were instrumental in the setting up of the Court of Criminal Appeal. Ever practical, he also campaigned for the issuing of steel helmets to soldiers and inflatable life jackets to sailors.
Conan Doyle was knighted in 1902 for his defense of British policy in the South African war. After his son died in the First World War, he became a
spiritualist, and his later work, such as The Wanderings deals with this. He
died in 1930.
Conan Doyle’s stories are still read all over the world, not only for their ingenious plots but also for their marvelous evocation of late-Victorian England.
Notes by Lesley Young
Carl Rigg trained at The Central School of Speech and Drama before working extensively in theater for the RSC and in repertory. His numerous TV appearances include Softly Softly, Emmerdale Farm and Squadron. Film credits include The Body Snatchers and The Living Daylights. He is also an experienced scriptwriter.
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