First Conan Doyle novel to be published

Tue Jun 7, 2011 10:04am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle's debut novel is to be published for the first time in September, nearly 130 years after it was written.

"The Narrative of John Smith" was unfinished and differed radically from the Sherlock Holmes stories that made him famous, but experts said it offered a window into the mind of Conan Doyle as he started out as a young doctor and author.

"What is interesting about it is not the story for its own sake but as a look inside the mind of this very young man -- a struggling physician who is struggling even harder to become a published writer," said Jon Lellenberg, one of the book's editors and a Conan Doyle expert based in Chicago.

To be published by the British Library which owns an extensive Conan Doyle collection, the book was written in 1883 and 1884, a few years before the publication of "A Study In Scarlet," the first story to feature the character of Holmes.

Through the character of John Smith, a 50-year-old man confined to his room by an attack of gout, Conan Doyle sets down his thoughts and opinions on subjects including literature, science, religion, war, and education.

Lellenberg said that while Smith was not a precursor to Holmes, other characters bore more than a passing resemblance to future personalities in the detective stories including his sidekick Dr. Watson.

"He's clearly thinking about characters who would become major figures (in the Holmes novels)," Lellenberg said.

"IMMATURE" WORK   Continued...