Afer a fairly conventional education he entered Edinburgh University medical school in 1876 and, while there, became acquainted with two particular characters among the lecturers. One was Joseph Bell who was a master at making deductions from the smallest piece of evidence and obviously was a role model for Sherlock Holmes. The other was Sir Patrick Heron Watson who was rated as a top-class medical doctor by his patients.
After qualifying he made a couple of trips as a ship's surgeon; and put these experiences to good use in his later writings. He then went into practice as a GP, starting up on his own in Southsea, Portsmouth. Only moderately successful, he turned to writing in order to earn additional income. It was a struggle at first, but by 1890 he was well established as a successful and popular writer.
His Sherlock Holmes' stories attracted a tremendous following. But he himself tired of writing about Holmes (wishing to spend more time on other books) and he killed him off. This he did in The Final Problem (contained in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes) where it is related how, on the 4th May 1891 at the Reichenbach Falls he fell to his death while struggling with the arch-criminal Professor Moriarty. What an outcry that caused when the story was first published in The Strand Magazine, 1893. So much so that, coupled with a very large money offer from publishers, he was persuaded to 'resurrect' him for many more stories until he finally 'retired' him to keeping bees somewhere in Sussex.
Conan Doyle was knighted in 1902 not for creating Sherlock Holmes, but for writing about and supporting so many social causes of those times. He did much good work of that nature. But it is for the creation of that 'immortal' detective that he will always be remembered. There are a large number of Sherlock Holmes Societies flourishing in the world today.
He married Louisa Hawkins on 6th August 1885 and they had 2 children. She died (of TB) in 1906 and he married Jean Blyth Leckie on 18th September 1907. They had 3 children.
In the latter half of his life he developed a strong belief in spiritualism.
He died on 7th July 1930 at his home, Windlesham, Crowborough, Sussex, aged 71.
Much of his work was originally published in instalments (in The Strand Magazine) and only later collected together and re-published in book-form.
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