Book update June 6 2014

It is almost exactly two months since I wrote the first words of my biography of Conan Doyle's years in Crowborough (1907-1930).

"Ectoplasm" from a "medium"
It's a challenging task. There are 23 years to cover and I've touched on (to some degree or other) only 8 of them. Yet I have put down nearly 20,000 words (1,500 of them today) and have unearthed a few gems not seen elsewhere (as far as I know) as well as coming at some known areas from a new angle.

I had many reservations about embarking on this section of ACD's life, the most significant being the need to cover Spiritualism. In an article I wrote for The Sherlock Holmes Society of London I stated that it would not be possible to do service to this area of ACD's life without being totally even-handed. This is a tall order for a subject where people are usually firmly fixed at one end of the spectrum or the other. I very much fear that I will fail my own criterion but I will do my best not to be either as credulous as some or as dismissive as others. That said, I don't believe in it and will be dismissive of it as a subject but not dismissive of people who, although misguided, were sincere in their belief - such as ACD himself.

Written by Alistair Duncan
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  1. Of the half dozen biographies of ACD that i have read, I think Daniel Stashower's "Teller of Tales" was the most even handed (and insightful) towards Spiritualism. I have no interest in the subject, in fact just the opposite, but Stashower's words on Doyle's beliefs were well done and interesting. Good luck with your efforts and I look forward to reading it when it is published.

  2. Can't wait to see the results.