Richard Lancelyn Green

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
Richard Lancelyn Green

Richard Gordon Lancelyn Green (10 july 1953 - 27 march 2004) was the world leading expert on Arthur Conan Doyle of his time.


He became a Sherlock Holmes enthusiast very early as a young boy. His father, Roger, was a member of The Sherlock Holmes Society of London and so encouraged Richard's fascination. The boy collected everything he could find to recreate the detective sitting-room, being very precise to get the right object that was described in the stories. But also already collecting first editions. In 1964, aged 11, Richard discovered the TV series Sherlock Holmes with Douglas Wilmer, his hero's living embodiment. He immediately wrote a letter to the actor, in which he mentioned that he had started a bibliography on Conan Doyle. This bibliography will be the work of his life which will be published 20 years later. Richard and Douglas Wilmer will later become close friends. In 1965, aged 12, he joined The Sherlock Holmes Society of London being the youngest member. 30 years later he became chairman of the society (1996-1999).

After graduating from Oxford, Richard settled in London and devoted his time to work on his collection and bibliography. He was regularly present in auction houses to buy everything of interest about Conan Doyle. He travelled in many countries to find rare books, items and manuscripts. He had the world's largest collection of doyleana, estimated around 2 millions pounds.

In 1984, he published his bibliography with John Michael Gibson : "A Bibliography of A. Conan Doyle". The same year, they both received a Special Edgars award from the Mystery Writers of America.

In the 90s, he contacted Dame Jean Conan Doyle, the daughter of Arthur Conan Doyle, who had receive from his brother, what has been called The Lost Papers, a large amount of family documents never seen before. Dame Jean was enchanted by Richard's dedication and she gave him access to some of his father's personal papers. However, it was not the entirety of the archives, but Dame Jean promised that she will bequeath the whole lot to the British Library. When she died in 1997, Richard awaited the transfer, but nothing happened.

Then, in march 2004, Richard learned that the lost archives had turned up at Christie's auction house and was to be sold, in may, by three of Conan Doyle's distant relatives. Richard tried all his best to prevent the auction but he died on 27 march 2004, two months before the sale. [1]

He bequeathed his collection to Portsmouth Library, as his will was to preserve the physical items related to Conan Doyle for the future generations, i.e. in public libraries rather than private collections. Portsmouth was chosen because Conan Doyle lived, practised and wrote here between 1882 and 1890.

He planned to write a 3-volume biography of Arthur Conan Doyle which was unfinished at the time of his death.





  • 1993 : The Adventure of the Cardboard Box (The Musgrave Papers No. 6)
  • 1996 : Obituary: Samuel Rosenberg (The Independent, London, 19 january 1996)
  • 2002 : Tilting at Windmills: Denis Conan Doyle and the Baker Street Irregulars (Baker Street Journal, Christmas Annual)
  • 2002 : Transactions 2001-2002 (The Sherlock Holmes Journal vol. 25, no. 4)
  • 2003 : Lionel William Bailey 1913-2003 (The Sherlock Holmes Journal vol. 26, no. 3)


TV documentary


Stage play

  1. About Richard's death controversies, see the press. For example, the 5 december 2004 article from The New Yorker titled : Mysterious Circumstances, by David Grann.