Arthur Conan Doyle
Although best known as the creator of Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle's work includes science fiction, historical romance and books on warfare and spiritualism. Born in Edinburgh, he qualified as a doctor and practised in Southsea before turning to writing as a means of supplementing his income. The first Sherlock Homes novel appeared in 1887 and the fictional detective soon brought fame and fortune - though Doyle always maintained his historical romances held more worth. His personal interests were far ranging: he was a strong advocate of a tunnel between England and France, of inflatable life jackets and, in one unfortunate incident, of a (faked) photograph of fairies. But it was for a paper justifying Britain's involvement in the Boer War - where he had served as a physician - that he received his knighthood. Influenced by Edgar Allan Poe, Doyle's work often demonstrates a similar contrasting of the rational and the imaginative.
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