Fiction's Greatest Detective. Creator Dead
From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
Fiction's Greatest Detective. Creator Dead is an article published in the The Yorkshire Evening Post on 7 july 1930.
Obituary of Arthur Conan Doyle.
Fiction's Greatest Detective
Sir A. Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the novelist, known the world ever as the creator of Sherlock Holmes, died at Crowborough, Sussex, to-day, at the age of 71.
Sir Arthur's health had given cause for great anxiety for the past few months. His illness was attributed to the strain of work in Scandinavia last autumn, when he gave a series of lectures on spiritualism, in which subject he had become, during the last few years, one of leading figures.
Lady Doyle, two sons, and daughter, were at the bedside when Sir Arthur died.
Conan Doyle began writing tales of adventure at six yearn of age, in Edinburgh, where he was born in 1859. His grandfather, father and three uncles were artist, and though Sir Arthur became a practitioner, he gave his leisure to literary work, in which at first he had but moderate success. But in the 'nineties he took his courage in both bands, abandoned medicine, and devoted himself wholely to writing.
By then his most popular character, Sherlock Holmes, had been created, and though Sir Arthur might wish his fame to rest upon his beliefs on communication between the living and the dead, it is more likely that Sherlock Holmes, the great imaginary detective, will be the basis of his immortality.
Not since Pickwick was born has any character in fiction taken such a hold the popular imagination. He is often regarded as a living person, and detectives are said to have studied his methods. Both he and his friend, "My dear Watson," are likely to provide entertainment for people of all nations for generations to come. Sherlock Holmes has given rite to scores of imitators.
Sir Arthur was an enthusiastic cricketer in his younger days.
Then there was a famous bowler named Sherlock.
"I cannot really be certain," Conan Doyle said a little while ago, "but it is possible that the name of the bowler Sherlock, stuck on my mind, and the name Holmes may also owe its origin to cricket."
In all, Sir Arthur wrote over 60 books and plays.
He vigorously espoused the cause of Oscar Slater, who was sentenced to imprisonment for life for the alleged murder of Marion Gilchrist. Believing that there had been a grave miscarriage of justice, he conducted a strenuous campaign for the re-opening of the case. In this he was ultimately successful, and Slater acquitted.
In a remarkable open letter, written in June last rear, Sir Arthur said: "We are about to die, you and I. My age is just over 70, and I suppose an actuary would give me five more years. It may be ten or it may be only one. Who can tell?" Perhaps this may have been prevision by one who was a firm believer in spiritualism and the power of the living to converse with the dead. He claimed to have had conversations with the spirits of Cecil Rhodes, at his grave in the Matoppo Hills, and also with Lord Haig and Joseph Conrad.
"I pledge my honour that Spiritualism is true," said Sir Arthur a few months ago, "and I know that Spiritualism is infinitely more important than literature, art, or politics, or in fact anything in the world."