A passionate lifelong fan of the Sherlock Holmes adventures, Pulitzer Prize–winning critic Michael Dirda is a member of The Baker Street Irregulars—the most famous and romantic of all Sherlockian groups. Combining memoir and appreciation, On Conan Doyle is a highly engaging personal introduction to Holmes's creator, as well as a rare insider’s account of the curiously delightful activities and playful scholarship of The Baker Street Irregulars.
On Conan Doyle is a much-needed celebration of Arthur Conan Doyle’s genius for every kind of storytelling.
Though most people could pick Sherlock Holmes out of a crowd, not many could craft such a spirited and personal account of the great detective s creator s life and lesser-known works as Pulitzer Prize winning Washington Post book columnist Dirda (Book by Book). A proud member of the Baker Street Irregulars one of the oldest and largest Holmes appreciation societies Dirda intertwines his childhood discovery of Holmes and Watson (it all started with The Hound of the Baskervilles) with the life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859 1930). While casual readers will associate Conan Doyle exclusively with 221B Baker Street, Dirda makes a strong case for investigating Doyle s extensive bibliography, which includes adventure stories (The Lost World), historical novels (Micah Clarke), supernatural stories ( The Horror of the Heights ), and books on spiritualism. But Holmes is still the main attraction, and the fascinating dynamics of the Irregulars are as rich as any of Conan Doyle s fictions. The Irregulars grudgingly accept, but do not encourage, the views of Doyleans, who consider the Holmes stories as blips written by the author of The Lost World. Dirda s lifelong enthusiasm and keen critical skills underscore the timeless quality of the brilliant detective and his multifaceted creator.