Arthur Conan Doyle: The Man Behind Sherlock Holmes by Andrew Norman

By Andrew Norman

Within the yr 1900, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was once on the top of his good fortune as a physician, a sportsman, a author of historic novels, a champion of the oppressed and, so much particularly, the writer of that honorable, courageous, and eminently good grasp detective, Sherlock Holmes. each new Holmes tale used to be greeted with nice anticipation and self assurance within the wisdom that, although complicated the crime, the supremely clever and logical detective might remedy it. yet in 1916 Conan Doyle stunned his readers by means of stating that he believed in Spiritualism. And while, in 1922, he released a booklet during which he professed to think in fairies, his devotees have been highly non-plussed. How may possibly the fellow who invented the ultra-rational Holmes declare to think in anything as obscure and unproven because the paranormal? Andrew Norman delves into either Doyle’s scientific documents and his writings to solve the secret.

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She knew also, however, that she would have a rare chance to re-create herself, as had her ancestors, migrating westward nearly a century earlier. HOUSES—ONE OF HER LIFETIME obsessions and the gravitational center of much of her fiction—were in Jackson’s blood. “My grandfather was an architect, and his father, and his father,” she once wrote. ” They were the most opulent residences San Francisco had yet seen: one was built of local redwood painted white to look like marble, while another featured a private art gallery.

She would pass the latter on to her granddaughter for good luck, telling her never to move the ribbon; Shirley didn’t. The couple spent the early years of their marriage in Alameda, across the bay and south of Oakland, where they raised two children: Clifford Field Bugbee, born in 1894, and Geraldine Maxwell Bugbee, Shirley’s mother, born the following year. The house exuding “disease and decay” that Jackson mentioned in her lecture could have been one of Maxwell Bugbee’s designs. The Gray House, as it is known, still stands in Ross, California, a small, elegant town fewer than twenty miles north of San Francisco.

The action in The Road Through the Wall, set in 1936 in the fictional town of Cabrillo, California, takes place on Pepper Street, which happens to have been the name of one of the streets intersecting the Jacksons’ block of Forest View Road (its name was later changed to Newhall). Cortez Avenue, which also figures in the novel, was a few blocks away. And the estate behind the wall, one of the novel’s key symbols, was almost certainly modeled on La Dolphine, which was subdivided in 1940—around the same time as the estate in the novel is.

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