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Teller of Tales: The Life of Arthur Conan Doyle
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Teller of Tales: The Life of Arthur Conan Doyle

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  160 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Winner of the 1999 Edgar Award for Best Biographical Work, this is "an excellent biography of the man who created Sherlock Holmes" (David Walton, The New York Times Book Review)

This fresh, compelling biography examines the extraordinary life and strange contrasts of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the struggling provincial doctor who became the most popular storyteller of his age.
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Paperback, 496 pages
Published January 23rd 2001 by Holt Paperbacks (first published 1999)
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Amy Sturgis
This was exactly what I was looking for, a comprehensive biography of Arthur Conan Doyle that put his writings in a larger personal context. Stashower's style is accessible and straightforward (though better documentation would've been preferable), and I appreciated the numerous quotes that allowed the individuals to speak for themselves. Stashower makes no apologies for Doyle, but he tries to remain balanced, even sympathetic, even in the most trying of circumstances (Doyle's crusade for Spirit ...more
Heather
I found this a fascinating book of a fascinating man. I was amazed at the number and variety of things Doyle had a hand in- studied and practiced medicine, went on a whaling expedition, helped popularize skiing, championed justice for those the law falsely condemned, ran for politics (even sharing the floor with Winston Churchill at one meeting), was a war correspondent, tried to get enlisted in every war in his lifetime including WWI when he was 50 years old, started his own militia, was a play ...more
Thomas Walsh
This waw recommended as part of the bibliography/appendix of "The Sherlockians." I found many things here which can explain how the man wrote and how he thought about logic and life. Recommended!
Roberta
I was looking for, a non-fiction biography of Arthur Conan Doyle, one that does not treat Sherlock Holmes as a real person. This book won the 1999 Edgar (Allan Poe) Award for Best Biographical Work and came highly recommended. It is not one of the books that indulges in the fantasy that Conan Doyle was just a literary agent who helped Dr. Watson get his stories published.

I knew very little about Arthur Conan Doyle before reading this book so it was interesting to find out how many of the 19th c
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Michael
This is a very interesting book about a fascinating and enigmatic man. Enigmatic because it is difficult to understand how a mind that could create Sherlock Holmes, the ultra-clinical, ultra-sceptical detective, could also believe in fairies, table-tapping, "voices from beyond," and pretty much any other mystical twaddle that came his way. This book, however, goes some way to reconciling these two polar opposites, explaining how Scottish good sense prevented Doyle from using Holmes as a mouthpie ...more
Don Weidinger
afterlife communication, formed brain makes for formed God, eliminate impossible remains truth, stories from details, data data can‘t make bricks without clay, abandon church belief psychic, 1891 strong women, self-delusion and deception, 2 white lies permitted, play fast and loose with truth, Sodom and Gomorrah ending late20’s, theory psychic and more immune from proof or not, know vs belief. ...more
Deb
I knew nothing of the life of Arthur Conan Doyle before reading this book. An amazing life. Conan Doyle's adventures kept me enthralled. Plus, the writing of Mr. Stashower was so natural, like I was sitting before a gifted story teller. Part of the time I listened to the audiobook. The narrator added another dimension. I had to read the last third, because the audiobook had to go back to the library. But even simply reading instead of hearing was a pleasure. Although the writing kept me going, t ...more
Doni
"He was a giant in stature with the heart of a child."
John
I can't really claim to have "read" this entire book, but I did read about 2/3 of it and I skimmed the other 1/3. It's a good example of why I tend not to read biographies of authors I like, simply because so many of them turn out to be nuts/jerks/unlikeable/etc. Conan Doyle was definitely a remarkable man, and I love the Sherlock Holmes stories, but I'm not sure that I needed to see just how flat-out crazy/delusional he turned out to be. Still, it was an interesting "read."
Chris
A rather facile biography of Doyle. You learn things, but it seems to lack depth. Honestly, Mr. Stashower how do you know what Doyle's first didn't know?

Not quite what Arthur & George put in mind for.
Al
A very shallow biography of Conan Doyle. Stylistically it was hard to stay with the flow of the narrative. Some good biographical information but I wouldn't recommend it. There must be a better biography out there somewhere.
Lindsey
I didn't care too much for the ending. It was well written, I just didn't care for the facts. :(
Read1000books
An excellent biography of the author who created Sherlock Holmes.
Teresa
bit of a snoozer, but adds a piece to that period of writers
Melanie
i loved this book and like sir arthur all the more!
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Daniel Stashower is the author of The Boy Genius and The Mogul as well as the Edgar Award-winning Teller of Tales: The Life of Arthur Conan Doyle. He is also the author of five mystery novels, the most recent of which is The Houdini Specter. Stashower is a recipient of The Raymond Chandler Fulbright Fellowship in Detective and Crime Fiction Writing, and spent a year as a Visiting Fellow at Wadham ...more
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