Doyle, Arthur Conan
Although Arthur Conan Doyle himself thought his historical and adventure novels were his finest work, he will be remembered as the creator of two of the most famous characters in all fiction, the consulting detective Sherlock Holmes and his chronicler, Dr Watson. Modelled on Doyle's own mentor and teacher, Dr Joseph Bell, Holmes was a master of deduction and detection, applying the latest scientific methods to crime. Erudite, highly strung, and a master of disguise, the image of Holmes with pipe and deerstalker is recognized worldwide. When his creator, bored with Holmes, attempted to kill him off, the offices of the Strand Magazine, who published the short stories, were besieged by irate readers. Holmes first appeared in the novel A Study in Scarlet (1887), but it was only when Doyle began to publish his investigations in short story form that he captured the public imagination. First collected in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1892), the Sherlock Holmes stories still grip today, as much for their portrait of Victorian London as the deductive leaps of their protagonist. Doyle is a riveting story-teller and a master of the short-story form. Begin with The Adventures, continue with The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (1894), and above all, The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902), a terrifying tale of family secrets set against the brooding background of Dartmoor.
Wilkie Collins, Agatha Christie, Patricia Cornwell. See CRIME VM