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Leah Price: Ectoplasm, 6 July 2000

Teller of Tales: The Life of Arthur ConanDoyle 
by Daniel Stashower.
Penguin, 472 pp., £18.99, February 2000, 0 7139 9373 1
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... Since Arthur ConanDoyle’s own lifetime, every mystery novelist applying to join the Detection Club in London has been required to forswear ‘Feminine Intuition, Mumbo-Jumbo and Jiggery-Pokery’ along with ‘Ghosts, Hypnotism, Trap-Doors and Chinamen’. Conan Doyle himself never did ...

Clues

J.I.M. Stewart, 5 May 1983

A Talent to Deceive: An Appreciation of Agatha Christie 
by Robert Barnard.
Collins, 203 pp., £7.95, April 1980, 0 00 216190 7
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The Agatha Christie Hour 
by Agatha Christie.
Collins, 190 pp., £6.50, September 1982, 0 00 231331 6
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The Penguin Complete Sherlock Holmes 
by Sir ArthurConan Doyle.
Allen Lane, 1122 pp., £7.95, August 1981, 0 7139 1444 0
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The Quest for Sherlock Holmes 
by Owen Dudley Edwards.
Mainstream, 380 pp., £12.50, November 1982, 0 906391 15 6
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The Unknown Conan DoyleEssays on Photography 
by John Michael Gibson and Richard Lancelyn Green.
Secker, 128 pp., £8.50, November 1982, 0 436 13302 4
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The Unknown Conan DoyleUncollected Stories 
by John Michael Gibson and Richard Lancelyn Green.
Secker, 456 pp., £8.95, November 1982, 0 436 13301 6
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The Life and Crimes of Agatha Christie 
by Charles Osborne.
Collins, 256 pp., £9.95, September 1982, 0 00 216462 0
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... or the manner in which the Marine held his head and swung his cane. As the Holmes saga developed, Conan Doyle came to see that it would be to the advantage of the stories that his readers should be afforded a clear glimpse of the clues as they turn up. But he sets no great emphasis on his. In the main, we simply follow Holmes around and admire in due ...

Twinkly

Theo Tait: Beyond the Barnes persona, 1 September 2005

Arthur & George 
by Julian Barnes.
Cape, 360 pp., £17.99, July 2005, 0 224 07703 1
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... nearly said something about English identity ends up as a broken-backed mess. His new novel, Arthur & George, is also a sort of parable of English identity (Barnes has suggested that it might be interpreted as an English version of the Dreyfus Affair). And, like many of his previous books, it deals in fact – but here the treatment of fact is ...

Diary

Wendy Doniger: Crazy about Horses, 23 September 1993

... of a sexual, political or religious nature. A celebrated case at the turn of the century involved Sir ArthurConan Doyle. After eight months of horse-ripping in Staffordshire, a series of anonymous letters directed police suspicion to a young Anglican clergyman named George Edalji, who was the son of a ...

Behind the Veil

Richard Altick, 6 March 1986

The Other World: Spiritualism and Psychical Research in England 1850-1914 
by Janet Oppenheim.
Cambridge, 503 pp., £25, March 1985, 0 521 26505 3
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... the hereafter. ‘O for thy voice to soothe and bless!’ cried Tennyson, addressing the deceased Arthur Hallam. ‘What hope of answer, or redress? Behind the veil, behind the veil.’ At this very moment, the mid-point of the century, spiritualism, an import from America where it had first taken the form of ghostly rappings, offered itself as a means of ...

On my way to the Couch

E.S. Turner, 30 March 1989

On my way to the Club 
by Ludovic Kennedy.
Collins, 429 pp., £15, January 1989, 0 00 217617 3
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... had to attend to other business. My career in broadcasting was about to begin.’ Fair enough. Sir ArthurConan Doyle did not devote 19 uninterrupted years to fighting the case of Oscar Slater (convicted 1909, sentence quashed 1928). After Mr Kennedy’s book 10 Rillington Place had appeared in 1961 he began to ...

The One We’d Like to Meet

Margaret Anne Doody: Myth, 6 July 2000

Splitting the Difference: Gender and Myth in Ancient Greece and India 
by Wendy Doniger.
Chicago, 376 pp., £43.95, June 1999, 0 226 15640 0
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The Implied Spider: Politics and Theology in Myth 
by Wendy Doniger.
Columbia, 212 pp., £11.50, October 1999, 0 231 11171 1
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... their own ideologies of the splitting of good from evil – Friedrich Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud and Sir ArthurConan Doyle. As quickly becomes clear, the solutions of splitting and multiplicity are by no means peculiar to the West: differences in slants and biases between cultures do not disguise the basic ...

Ballooning

J.I.M. Stewart, 5 June 1986

The Unknown Conan DoyleLetters to the Press 
by John Michael Gibson and Richard Lancelyn Green.
Secker, 377 pp., £15, March 1986, 0 436 13303 2
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... after Agatha Christie had vanished), and now reprinted in the present volume of selections from Conan Doyle’s letters to the press. Mr Leaf, this letter declares, is ‘an excellent psychometrist’ who ‘at once got the name of Agatha’ and then said: ‘There is trouble connected with this article. The person who owns it is half dazed and half ...

Lost Jokes

Alan Bennett, 2 August 1984

... of the Headmaster, whose retirement is the occasion for the presentation of ‘Speak for England, Arthur’, the play within the play. The memoirs of T.E. Lawrence and Virginia Woolf occur in the original script and the visit to the country house on the eve of the First War, but these are presented as the memories of Hugh and Moggie, the upper-class couple ...

Plot 6, Row C, Grave 15

Malcolm Gaskill: Death of an Airman, 8 November 2018

... and dates. The first plans for the cemetery were drawn up in 1920 and finalised two years later by Sir Robert Lorimer, an architect inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement and Scottish baronial architecture – nostalgia to soothe the pain of modernity. Like most such cemeteries, it is overlooked by a Cross of Sacrifice – an elongated cross usually set on ...

So Much Smoke

Tom Shippey: King Arthur, 20 December 2018

King Arthurthe Making of the Legend 
by Nicholas Higham.
Yale, 380 pp., £25, October 2018, 978 0 300 21092 7
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... Modern academic historians​ want nothing to do with King Arthur. ‘There is no historical evidence about Arthur; we must reject him from our histories and, above all, from the titles of our books,’ David Dumville wrote in 1977; and he was backed up by, for instance, J ...

Fit only to be a greengrocer

E.S. Turner, 23 September 1993

Rider Haggard and the Lost Empire 
by Tom Pocock.
Weidenfeld, 264 pp., £20, August 1993, 0 297 81308 0
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... many a writer of popular fiction, he felt he ought to be performing some sort of public service. Conan Doyle, notoriously, had no wish to be remembered for Sherlock Holmes. Some word-spinners stood for Parliament, but tended to spoil their chances by putting up too many ideas of their own. Haggard, who had turned gentleman-farmer in Norfolk, fell into ...

Boomster and the Quack

Stefan Collini: How to Get on in the Literary World, 2 November 2006

Writers, Readers and Reputations: Literary Life in Britain 1870-1918 
by Philip Waller.
Oxford, 1181 pp., £85, April 2006, 0 19 820677 1
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... Bennett, A.C. Benson, Hugh Benson, Laurence Binyon, Robert Bridges, Hall Caine, G.K. Chesterton, Arthur ConanDoyle, John Galsworthy, Thomas Hardy, Maurice Hewlett, Anthony Hope, W.J. Locke, E.V. Lucas, J.W. Mackail, John Masefield, A.E.W. Mason, Gilbert Murray, Henry Newbolt, Owen Seaman, G.M. Trevelyan, H.G. Wells ...

Let us breakfast in splendour

Charles Nicholl: Francis Barber, 16 July 2015

The Fortunes of Francis Barber: The True Story of the Jamaican Slave Who Became Samuel Johnson’s Heir 
by Michael Bundock.
Yale, 282 pp., £20, May 2015, 978 0 300 20710 1
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... The engraving​ called A Literary Party at Sir Joshua Reynolds’s shows nine men seated around a table convivially cluttered with decanters and after-dinner debris. From left to right they are James Boswell, Samuel Johnson, Joshua Reynolds, David Garrick, Edmund Burke, Pasquale Paoli, Charles Burney, Thomas Warton and Oliver Goldsmith ...

Diary

Iain Sinclair: In Guy Vaes’s Footsteps, 21 May 2020

... of what’s left of ancient Rotherhithe’. He stalked twilight zones, dowsing for echoes of Conan Doyle, Arthur Machen and Thomas De Quincey. We are commuters, he wrote, ‘struck by a quarantine whose extent escapes our measuring instruments’. After wartime displacement to Bordeaux, and the horrors of ...

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