By Leslie Shortlidge
Why talk about Doyle here in the SinC blog? Because Doyle was a believer in fiction that did not cheat the reader, fiction that rather rewarded him or her with a satisfying conclusion based on observable facts and the latest scientific methods.
In precious movie footage from a 1927 newsreel, Doyle himself addresses the camera and his legion of fans to explain how and why he came to create Holmes (or does so until about half-way through when he shifts his discussion to Spiritualism). Mostly, Doyle wrote detective fiction because he didn’t like the detective fiction he was reading. He disliked the style of the time, which depended on a “lucky chance or a fluke of some kind” that lacked plausible explanations.
For his creation, Sherlock Holmes, Doyle “thought of a hundred little dodges . . . a hundred little touches by which he could build up his conclusions.” Inspired by a colleague, Dr. Joseph Bell, who employed the same holistic consideration of a person made famous by Holmes, Doyle succeeded in setting the bar to a much higher standard than heretofore realized—and the style still inspires.
Leslie Shortlidge is a member of the Sisters In Crime Guppie chapter and lives in Columbus, Ohio. You can follow her on Twitter, where her handle is @Bookorama. Most of her posts are exciting updates on her word count, using the #amwriting hash tag.