Sherlock Holmes Society of London
Alistair Duncan’s Eliminate the Impossible was a very good start, and Close to Holmes confirmed him as a truly important writer in our field. In The Norwood Author he illuminated, as no previous biographer had, an essential period in the life of Conan Doyle, when Sherlock Holmes leapt to international fame – and his creator killed him.
Now An Entirely New Country: Arthur Conan Doyle, Undershaw and the Resurrection of Sherlock Holmes throws light on the drama of the years that followed, when Conan Doyle and his family lived in Undershaw, the house he’d had built at Hindhead, where conditions were favourable for his invalid wife Louise. Hindhead was also the centre of an informal community of writers and artists.
During the Undershaw years Conan Doyle wrote The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Return of Sherlock Holmes. He served as a field surgeon in the Boer War and wrote a full history of the conflict. He adopted the cause of the wrongly convicted George Edalji. He was knighted. And he fell in love with Jean Leckie, who would become his second wife. Today, Undershaw is in a sad state, empty and threatened by inappropriate ‘development’. It’s fitting that the foreword to this admirable book was written by Mark Gatiss, the Patron of the Undershaw Preservation Trust.
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The late 1890s saw Arthur Conan Doyle return to England after several years abroad. His new house, named Undershaw, represented a fresh start but it was also the beginning of a dramatic decade that saw him fall in love, stand for parliament, fight injustice and be awarded a knighthood. However, for his many admirers, the most important event of that decade was the resurrection of Sherlock Holmes - the character that he felt had cast a shadow over his life.