Defending Roy

Not long ago I took part in a Facebook conversation about Conan Doyle and dogs. It was suggested by some on the thread that Conan Doyle possibly did not like dogs based on the way they were presented in the Holmes stories.

I knew to the contrary and came in on the other side of the argument. Doing so has led me to notice something and it's taken me an embarrassingly long time to make this connection. In 1913, as described in my 2015 book No Better Place, Conan Doyle was forced to go to court in Kent to defend his dog Roy who had been accused of killing the sheep of a farmer whose farm was close to Conan Doyle's home.

Conan Doyle got his dog off the hook but the episode clearly stuck with him. Ten years later he published the Sherlock Holmes story The Creeping Man in which a dog features. It is surely no coincidence that the dog is called Roy.

Written by Alistair Duncan Buy my books here


  1. Every now and again one needs to unearth Doyle's poem on how the creator and the created are not one and the same.