Adrian Malcolm Conan Doyle

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
Adrian Conan Doyle

Adrian Malcom Conan Doyle, F.Z.S. [1] (19 november 1910 - 3 june 1970) is the fourth child of Arthur Conan Doyle (second child of second marriage). He had a direct younger sister Lena Jean and older brother Denis, and two older half-siblings, sister Mary and brother Kingsley from the first marriage of his father.

Crest of Adrian Malcolm Conan Doyle (registered in Dublin in 1951) [2]


On 19 november 1910, Adrian was born at Windlesham, Crowborough, Sussex. He was baptised on 2 january 1911.

On 3 march 1916, he nearly died of pneumonia (aged about 6).

He received primary and initial secondary education at the private school named Hookstead in Crowborough (at the crossroad of Goldsmith Avenue and Beacon Road).

He had the chance to travel around the world. Between 1920 and 1929, he spent 24 months abroad in Australia, New Zealand, USA and Canada (2 times) and Africa. Each time to accompany his family during his father's lecture tours about spiritualism.

From 1929, Adrian and his bother Denis started to be interested in race cars. He drove an Anzani Frazer-Nash (The Slug) and received some trophies.

On 23 may 1938, he was married to Anna Charlotte Andersen by Rev. H. Horton at All Saints Church, Minstead, New Forest, Hampshire. At church were present Lady Conan Doyle, Lena Jean Conan Doyle, Mary Conan Doyle, Denis Conan Doyle as best man, Francis Doyle, Francis Doyle, Innes Foley, Marquis Julio de Amodio, Miss Angela Ashmead Bartlett, Miss and Mrs. Horton, Desmond Nicholas, Ambrose Sedgwick, Miss Cynthia Sedgwick, Robin Sanders-Clark, Miss Ruth Smith and Miss Babs Thorn. A reception was held at Cuffnels, Lyndhurst.

On 25 may 1938, the couple left for a honeymoon in Cameroon.

In november 1938, the press reported the disappearance of Adrian's Python, named Tiko. It was found in the chimney of the Chelsea flat a few days later.

In 1940, Lady Conan Doyle died and the estate was managed by Adrian.

In 1944, Adrian served with the Navy from 12 march to 25 april and was then discharged (as being unfit for naval service).

In 1945, he wrote an essay about his father: The True Conan Doyle in reaction to Hesketh Pearson controversial biography.

Around 1946, Adrian and Anna got bored with civilization so they lived for 6 months on a 30-foot schooner to study tropical marine life in Zanzibar. Adrian wrote a report of their expedition in Heaven Has Claws (John Murray, 1952).

Between 1947-1949, Adrian helped John Dickson Carr for his biography : The Life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1949).

Late december 1948 or early 1949, he took up residence in Tangier.

In 1952, Adrian supervised the Sherlock Holmes exhibition which toured 2 years in USA.

In 1954, he was the author with John Dickson Carr of the sherlockian pastiches collected in The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes. They wrote in collaboration the 4 or 5 first stories and the rest by Adrian alone (according to himself in an interview).

After the death of his brother Denis in 1955, Adrian had lawsuits against Denis' wife Nina Mdivani asking her important sums about his late brother's estate.

At the end of 1962, Adrian and Henry E. Lester started a film company named "Sir Nigel Films", in memory of his father's historical novel. The company produced 3 movies related to Sherlock Holmes and Brigadier Gerard : A Study in Terror (1965), The Adventures of Gerard (1970) and The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970).

In 1965, Adrian and Anna moved to Switzerland in the Lucens Castle.

In 1966, he founded the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Foundation in the Lucens Castle (Switzerland) in order to preserve the memory and reputation of his famous father.

Besides his collection related to his father, he had a big collection of armours and old keys.

Adrian died on 3 june 1970, aged 59 of an heart attack. His ashes were interred in the battlements of the Lucens Castle.

In his obituary, Adrian Conan Doyle is evoked as a big game hunter, fisherman, zoologist, explorer and author.



Birth certificate (19 november 1909). GRO Ref. : 1910/Dec/UCKFIELD/02B/96.

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Adrian Conan Doyle liked to paint. See some of his paintings below:

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