The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

By Arthur Conan Doyle; Christopher Roden | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE ( 1859- 1930) wrote sixty stories featuring his detective creation Sherlock Holmes which, with the exception of A Study in Scarlet ( 1887) and The Sign of the Four ( 1890), were all published in the Strand Magazine. Conan Doyle's first contribution to the Strand was "'The Voice of Science'", a short story published anonymously (although credited in the magazine's index) in March 1891. His final story, 'The Last Resource', appeared in December 1930, some months after his death. The fortunes of the Strand waxed and waned with Conan Doyle's contributions. A new series of Sherlock Holmes stories was a virtual guarantee that there would be a significant surge in demand for the already popular monthly: the stories that were later collectively published as The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes would make their own particular impact on the magazine's circulation following the December 1892 issue. Conan Doyle remained loyal to the Strand, and the Strand to Conan Doyle, for a period of thirty-nine years. Their mutual success during that period was due, in no small measure, to the foresight of the Strand's first editor, Herbert Greenhough Smith ( 1855- 1935), who recognized the potential of Conan Doyle's short stories. In "'The Passing of Conan Doyle'" ( Strand, September 1930), Greenhough Smith wrote:

It was in 1891 that, as Editor of The Strand Magazine, I received the first of these stories which were destined to become famous over all the world as 'The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes'. I have cause to remember the occasion well. The Strand Magazine was in its infancy in those days: good story-writers were scarce, and here to an editor, jaded with wading through reams of impossible stuff, comes a gift from Heaven, a godsend in the shape of a story that brought a gleam of happiness into the despairing life of this weary editor. Here was a new and gifted story-writer; there was no mistaking the ingenuity of plot, the limpid clearness of style, the perfect art of telling a story.

-xi-

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