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Author Information: Arthur Conan Doyle



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Although he was never considered a great writer, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created one of the most famous and enduring characters in the history of fiction -- Sherlock Holmes. The four novels and 56 stories in which Holmes appears have been translated into more than 50 languages, and the characters of Holmes and Dr. John Watson have frequently been depicted in plays, films, radio and television programs, cartoons, comic strips, and advertising.

The incredible popularity of Sherlock Holmes was troubling to Doyle, whose dream was to be known for his painstakingly researched historical novels in the tradition of Sir Walter Scott. So in 1893, Sherlock Holmes met his end at the Reichenbach Falls in "The Final Problem." When this story appeared in Strand magazine, however, 20,000 readers canceled their subscriptions, businessmen dressed in mourning, and Doyle received letters addressing him as "You Brute."

In 1903 Doyle was offered $5,000 per story if he would bring Holmes back to life. Thus Holmes returned in "The Empty House." The story created a sensation, and the detective was as famous as ever. In fact, by the 1920s -- years after he had given up his medical practice (as an eye specialist, he never attracted a single patient) -- Doyle was the most highly paid writer in the world, commanding huge sums of money for his serialized Sherlock Holmes tales.

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