Conan Doyle for the defense : the true story of a sensational British murder, a quest for justice, and the world's most famous detective writer / Margalit Fox.
- First Edition.
- New York : Random House, 2018.
xxvii, 319 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
- Scotland -- Glasgow.
Doyle, Arthur Conan, 1859-1930.
Discrimination in criminal justice administration -- Scotland -- Glasgow.
Murder -- Scotland -- Glasgow.
Criminal investigation -- Scotland -- Glasgow.
Forensic sciences -- Scotland -- Glasgow.
Vindication -- Scotland -- Glasgow.
Detectives -- Scotland -- Glasgow.
Discrimination in criminal justice administration.
- "In this thrilling true-crime procedural, the creator of Sherlock Holmes uses his unparalleled detective skills to exonerate a German Jew wrongly convicted of murder. For all the scores of biographies of Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of the most famous detective in the world, there is no American book that tells this remarkable story--in which Conan Doyle becomes a real-life detective on an actual murder case. In Conan Doyle for the Defense, Margalit Fox takes us step-by-step inside Conan Doyle's investigative process and illuminates a murder mystery that is also a morality play for our time--a story of ethnic, religious, and anti-immigrant bias. In 1908, a wealthy woman was brutally murdered in her Glasgow home. The police found a convenient suspect in Oscar Slater--an immigrant Jewish cardsharp--who, despite his innocence, was tried, convicted, and consigned to life at hard labor in a brutal Scottish prison. Conan Doyle, already world famous as the creator of Sherlock Holmes, was outraged by this injustice and became obsessed with the case. Using the methods of his most famous character, he scoured trial transcripts, newspaper accounts, and eyewitness statements, meticulously noting myriad holes, inconsistencies, and outright fabrications by police and prosecutors. Finally, in 1927, his work won Slater's freedom. Margalit Fox, a celebrated longtime writer for The New York Times, has "a nose for interesting facts, the ability to construct a taut narrative arc, and a Dickens-level gift for concisely conveying personality" (Kathryn Schulz, New York). In Conan Doyle for the Defense, she immerses readers in the science of Edwardian crime detection and illuminates a watershed moment in the history of forensics, when reflexive prejudice began to be replaced by reason and the scientific method"-- Provided by publisher.
"In 1908 an elderly woman was brutally murdered in her Glasgow apartment. The police found a convenient but innocent suspect in Oscar Slater--a Jewish cardsharp--who was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, already the world-famous creator of Sherlock Holmes, was outraged by this injustice and became obsessed with the case. Over the years he scoured trial transcripts, newspaper accounts, and police diaries, meticulously noting myriad holes and inconsistencies. Finally, in 1927, his work won Slater's freedom. Conan Doyle for the Defense immerses readers in the science of Edwardian crime detection, telling the story of how Conan Doyle managed to get this murder conviction overturned by employing the methods of his most famous creation. Along the way, Fox illuminates a watershed moment in the history of criminal justice when reflexive prejudice began gradually to be replaced by reason and the scientific method"-- Provided by publisher.
- Prologue: Prisoner 2988
Book one: Diamonds
A footfall on the stair
The mysterious Mr. Anderson
The man in the Donegal cap
Book two: Blood
The original Sherlock Holmes
The art of reasoning backward
A case of identity
Book three: Granite
The trap door
"Until he be dead"
The cold cruel sea
Arthur Conan Doyle, consulting detective
The strange case of George Edalji
Book four: Paper
"You know my method"
The ruin of John Thomson Trench
The purloined brooch
The gates of Peterhead
More light, more justice
The knight and the knave
What became of them.
- Includes bibliographical references (pages 273-308) and index.
- Local notes:
- Athenaeum copy: Beerman Fund bookplate.
Acquired for the Penn Libraries with assistance from the Alumni and Friends Memorial Book Fund.
- Alumni and Friends Memorial Book Fund.
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