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.
An interpreter seeks Holmes' advice after being abducted and forced to translate a conversation with a bound and gagged man. A story that also involves Sherlock's even more observant brother, Mycroft Holmes.