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Wednesday, March 9, 2016
Conan Doyle's Last Years Close-Up
The last 23 years of Arthur Conan Doyle's life were among his most active. They included the Oscar Slater Case, The Lost World, the Great War, the embrace of spiritualism, campaigns for divorce reform and against women's suffrage, friendship and feud with Houdini, Sherlock Holmes on stage and screen, and the closing of the Canon.
Alistair Duncan misses none of that in No Better Place. Having covered ACD's Norwood years and his Undershaw years in earlier books, he details the great author's later adventures in this new one. The subtitle makes the scope of the 434-page volume clear: "Arthur Conan Doyle, Windlesham and Communication with the Other Side (1907-1930)."
The story begins with ACD coming back from his November 1907 honeymoon in France to a new home. He writes to his mother: "Saturday will bring us to Windlesham, where I shall live and die, I expect. No better place." He was right, for his home in the East Sussex village is where he died of a heart attack on the morning of July 7, 1930.
Duncan's well-research account of what happened in between those two events contains an impressive 422 footnotes, and yet reads very quickly. It's illustrated with dozens of photos, and bolstered at the back by a handy 20-page index. For a close look at the last two decades of an amzing life, there is no better book.
Posted by Doctor Dan at 12:00 AM