Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was born in Edinburgh, in a Roman Catholic family and was educated in Jesuit schools. He studied at Edinburgh University and in 1884 he married Louise Hawkins. Doyle qualified as doctor in 1885. After graduation Doyle practiced medicine as an eye specialist near Porsmouth in Hampshire until 1891 when he became a full time writer. In 1887 appeared Sherlock Holmes’s first adventure.
His father suffered from epilepsy and died in an asylum in 1893. In the same year Doyle decided to finish permanently the adventures of his master detective.
During the South African war (1899-1902) Doyle served for a few months as a physician at a field hospital He was appointed Sir Arthur in 1902 for his work in Boer War propaganda and for his ability as a writer. Fourteen months after his wife died, Conan Doyle married in 1907 his second wife, Jean Leckie. He dedicated himself in spiritualistic studies after his son Kingsley died in World War I and became president of several important spiritualist organizations.
Doyle’s practiced seven months in the Arctic as ship’s doctor on a whaler, and three on a steamer bound to the West Coast of Africa and these experiences offered him material for his writings.
He died on July 7, 1930 from heart disease at his home, Windlesham, Sussex.
Among his works:
• A Study in Scarlet (1887), published in Beeton Christmas Annual. It is the first story about Sherlock Holmes. It introduces the detective, his partner Dr. Watson, and their major opponent Moriarty, an evil genius who is a kind of Holmes’ doppelganger.
• The Sign of Four (1890), published in the Lippincott’s Magazine. In the story appears a group of various people included Jonathan Small who has a wooden leg and a dwarf from Tonga islands.
• The Final Problem (1893), story which marked the end of S. Holmes. Holmes meets Moriarty in Switzerland and disappears. In a letter to Watson the detective explains that “my career had in any case reached its crisis, and that no possible conclusion to it could be more congenial to me than this.”
• The Hound Of Baskervilles (1902), an early case of the dead detective in which the murder weapon is an animal.
• The War in South Africa: Its Cause and Conduct (1902), in which Doyle shows his imperialistic point of view on the war.
• In The Empty House (1903), Doyle resurrected his popular hero because of the public demand. From this story on Holmes stops using cocaine.
• The Coming Of Fairies (1922), written after his son’s death, supports the existence of “little people” and became president of several important spiritualist organizations
• The Lost World (1912) is a collection of stories about the adventures of Professor George Edward Challenger in which Doyle blended science with fantastic romance.
Before Jurassic Park and Avatar, Sherlock Holmes’s father had already imagined a world untouched by progress and technical development yet. He had described it in a language lively and realistic. The Lost World is the adventure of history before history found thanks to observation, studies and deductions.