From Publishers Weekly
Costello (James Joyce
), an Irish writer, presents a welcome study of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's active work as an amateur sleuth. Costello makes the intriguing (if not entirely convincing) claim that Doyle's brief status as the subject of a police inquiry into the death of a young man under his care (and under his roof) led to his interest in crime and eventually to the creation of the world's most famous fictional sleuth. The book's strengths lie in its wide scope, encompassing not only celebrated cases where Doyle undertook heroic efforts to clear innocents such as Oscar Slater and George Edalji but more obscure matters where local authorities around the world appealed to Sir Arthur for insight. However, in some instances, the treatment is superficial, as in the section on Jack the Ripper, where Costello lends credence to some widely discredited theories, and where Doyle's role was merely that of an armchair speculator. Still, this is likely to be the standard reference on the subject for now. (Dec. 1)
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About the Author
Peter Costello, author of the highly acclaimed Life of Joyce among other works, also contributed to a wide range of journals, among them the Dublin Sunday Independent and the Irish Literary Supplement.