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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

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  237 ratings  ·  22 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.
Paperback, 496 pages
Published January 23rd 2001 by Holt Paperbacks (first published 1999)
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3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  237 ratings  ·  22 reviews

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Jun 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
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
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
Tom Walsh
Jul 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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!
Nov 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Išsami, stora, (pa)skaitoma biografija apie žmogų, nelabai norėjusį istorijoje liktų tik Šerloko Holmso autoriumi, tad iki gyvenimo pabaigos mėginusį įsitverti ko nors reikšmingesnio. Principingą, net jei tai grėsdavo kone visuotine pajuoka.
Kad į gyvenimo pabaigą susižavėjo spiritizmu - teko girdėti, bet nesitikėjau, jog iki tokio lygio. Graudi "fėjų" istorija, balansavimas ant saviapgaulės ribos. Kartais toks įspūdis, kad tiek jis, tiek visa aplinka tiesiog turėjo į valias laiko - o tuomet miru
Aug 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
I thought Stashower gave a balanced portrayal of ACD, drawing attention to both his admirable qualities and his faults. I knew very little about his life before I began reading it, and Stashower does an excellent job of building suspense, which made reading this often as engaging and entertaining as a novel. Ultimately I finished this book wanting to learn even more about ACD. I was particularly fascinated by ACD's written correspondences. Stashower frequently quotes from letters that ACD wrote, ...more
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Interesting insight into Sir Arthur's life. A little known fact is he sailed from Peterhead, which is a town 45 minutes away by car. And he also was at Peterhead prison also.
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
Mar 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was an excellent overview of Conan Doyle's life, with a relatively positive view of the man. I appreciated the positive view of Conan Doyle because I am (as I imagine most readers are) a fan of Conan Doyle and his work. Conan Doyle had his faults but also many achievements aside from his writing, so I think this biography did a good job balancing the two. It was positive while not skipping over the faults.

There was plenty of material about Holmes and Conan Doyle's non-spiritualist works, w
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
Darla Ebert
Feb 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I am not ashamed to say I was riveted to the reading of this biography about one of the best writers of the 19th century (and into the 20th). The writing style of Stashower is unmatched by any of the numerous biographies read (by myself) in the past. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who would have their interests (on the life of Conan Doyle) met and satisfied on many different levels. I think it is the author's way of taking what could have been a very straightforward and boringly to ...more
Sep 14, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Mar 20, 2009 rated it liked it
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."
Apr 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Always heard about Doyle and so eventually wanted to read a biography. This one was well written and interesting and didn't drag on. Gave me a good insight into the man who brought the world Holmes and many other wonderful stories. Also intrigued by his mysticism and how he struggle just to remain a simple man and doctor among all the fame.
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.
Mar 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: odds-and-ends
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.
Mar 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
i loved this book and like sir arthur all the more!
Jul 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"He was a giant in stature with the heart of a child."
An excellent biography of the author who created Sherlock Holmes.
Apr 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
I didn't care too much for the ending. It was well written, I just didn't care for the facts. :(
Oct 03, 2009 rated it it was ok
bit of a snoozer, but adds a piece to that period of writers
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Mar 20, 2018
The Scrivener's Quill
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Nov 29, 2010
Christopher Roden
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Feb 14, 2009
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Dec 05, 2015
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Mar 21, 2012
Leslie Ellis
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Mar 17, 2017
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Sep 04, 2011
Michael Brady
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May 16, 2017
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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