Sir A. Conan Doyle's Position: His One Desire

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia

Sir A. Conan Doyle's Position: His One Desire is an article published in the Daily Mail on 2 september 1907, including a part of an interview with Arthur Conan Doyle about the Edalji case.

Sir A. Conan Doyle Amazed

Daily Mail (2 september 1907, p. 8)

His One Desire

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle last night made the following statement to a "Daily Mail" representative:—

"My one desire is to help the police in every possible manner. Of course, of the later outrages I know nothing save what I have gathered from the papers. The former outrages, however, I studied closely, and obtained a great deal of local information which enabled me to form a perfectly definite conclusion as to the perpetrator.

"Having formed this conclusion, I sent a sample of the suspect's writing to an expert, enclosing with it photographs of the 'Greatorex' letters, and also specimens of the threatening letters which I have received and the persecuting letters which Mr. Edalji himself received over the signature of 'Martin Molton.' I said nothing to the expert about the conclusions I had formed as regards the outrages nor did I prompt him in any way, but be pronounced my suspect to be undoubtedly the author of all the letters which were submitted to him. In this way two different lines of reasoning have converged upon the same man.

"All the information I have concerning the earlier crimes I most willingly placed at the disposal of the police. I had already months ago sent it to the Home Office, but I know nothing of what they did with it. I have not only given the police all my information, but I have put them in direct communication with all those local gentlemen who have so kindly assisted me.

"You may ask, Why did they not, in the first instance, give their information to the police? Some of them did do so, but were left with the strong impression that the police, having already convicted Mr. George Edalji, had no desire to accumulate any fresh evidence upon the point. It must be remembered that Mr. George Edalji himself showed interest in the crimes, and made suggestions to the police, and that this was brought up against him at the trial. It can well be imagined that this did not encourage other of the local people to bring fresh information or to mix themselves in the matter in any way.

"Since my suspect still lives in the neighbourhood, and since the crimes are of an exactly similar nature, the strong probability is that he is again the author, though as one degenerate attracts another I by no means commit myself to the statement that he has been alone. On the contrary, I believe that although he is the instigator and the principal performer others have had a share in the business."