|Jack the Ripper: A Suspect Guide|
|This text is from the E-book Jack the Ripper: A Suspect Guide by Christopher J. Morley (2005). Click here to return to the table of contents. The text is unedited, and any errors or omissions rest with the author. Our thanks go out to Christopher J. Morley for his permission to publish his E-book.|
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Conan Doyle has over the years been sporadically mentioned as a possible Ripper suspect, due to him having studied medicine. Doyle was born in Edinburgh on 22 May 1859, one of ten children, his mother Mary, ran a boarding house, and his father Charles, was a civil servant, who in 1879 entered a nursing home suffering from alcoholism, and who died there in 1893. Doyle studied at Edinburgh University and received his M.D in 1885. The year before, he worked as a surgeon on a Greenland whaling ship on a tour of the Artic, where it is claimed he took a sadistic pleasure in the killings. He began writing to make some money while he waited for his medical practice in Southsea to grow. In 1885 he married Louise Hawkins, the couple were married fifteen years before Louise died from tuberculosis in 1900. They had two children, a boy, Kingsley, who was wounded at the battle of the Somme and died in 1917 from pneumonia, and a girl. In 1887 Doyle wrote A Study In Scarlet, and created Sherlock Holmes. By 1891 six Holmes novels had been published in Strand magazine. In 1893 tired of writing short stories and wanting to be remembered more for his historical novels, he decided, in the story The Final Problem, to kill off Sherlock Holmes. The outcry from his fans however was so great that he was reluctantly forced to resurrect his creation.
He originally based the character Sherlock Holmes on Edgar Allan Poe's Detective C. Auguste Dupin, and Holmes physical appearance on a real life professor Dr Joseph Bell, a criminal psychologist and surgeon he had worked with in university. Some fans actually came to believe that Holmes was real and not fictional, and sent letters and parcels to him at Doyle's address.
He ran, unsuccessfully, for parliament in 1900 and again in 1906. He served as a doctor in the Boer War and was knighted in 1902. He married for a second time in 1907, Jean Leckie, and they had three children. A physically powerful man, he was 29 years of age at the time of the Whitechapel murders, stood 6" feet 2" tall and weighed 16 stone. A keen sportsman, good cricketer and founding member of Portsmouth football club, he was also a freemason, joining the Phoenix Lodge in July 1887. He died on 7 July 1930 at the age of 71 at his home in Windlesham, Sussex, from heart disease. In 1888 when asked his opinions on the Whitechapel murders he suggested that the killer may have disguised himself as a midwife or abortionist, thus avoiding suspicion, escaping while being heavily bloodstained.
Best known for his Sherlock Holmes mysteries, he also wrote historical romances and several books on spiritualism including The New Revelation (1918) and The History of Spiritualism (1926). The Sherlock Holmes expression, 'Elementary my dear Watson' though synonymous with the character, never actually appeared in any of Doyle's stories, and was in fact the creation of Hollywood script writers.
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