As a young medical student at the University of Edinburgh, Arthur Conan Doyle studied under the vigilant eye of Dr Joseph Bell. He observed as Dr Bell identified a patient's occupation, hometown and ailments both imagined and genuine from the smallest details of dress, gait and speech. Although Doyle was training to be a surgeon, he was meanwhile cultivating essential knowledge that would help him to develop and define the art of the detective novel.
From Doyle's early days surrounded by poverty and violence, to his escape to University and finally to his first days as a surgeon in his own practice, acclaimed author Michael Sims traces the circuitous yet inevitable development of Arthur Conan Doyle as the father of the modern mystery, whose most famous creation is still the most well-known and well-loved of the canon's many members. Through Sims's deft analysis of Doyle's childhood and adult life, the incomparable Sherlock Holmes emerges as a product of Doyle's varied lessons in the classroom and professional life. Building on the traditions of Edgar Allan Poe, Emile Gaboriau, and even Voltaire, Doyle's new detective is not just a skilful translator of clues, but a veritable superhero of the mind in the tradition of his most esteemed teacher, Dr Joseph Bell.
Michael Sims's six acclaimed non-fiction books include The Adventures of Henry Thoreau, The Story of Charlotte's Web, and Adam's Navel, and he edits the Connoisseur's Collection anthology series, which includes Dracula's Guest, The Dead Witness, The Phantom Coach, and the forthcoming Frankenstein Dreams. His writing has appeared in New Statesman, New York Times, Washington Post, and many other periodicals. He appears often on NPR, BBC, and other networks.