The Ardlamont mystery The real-life story behind the creation of Sherlock Holmes

Daniel Smith, 1976-

Book - 2018

The Ardlamont murder trial, which took place in Edinburgh's High Court in December 1893, was the culmination of one of the most intriguing criminal cases in British legal history. But perhaps more remarkable than that was that it brought together the two principal real-life inspirations behind the creation of the world's favourite fictional consulting detective: Sherlock Holmes. Joseph Bell and Henry Littlejohn were Professors of Medicine at Edinburgh University. As educators, medical ...trailblazers and social reformers, the two friends were pioneers in the emerging world of forensic science, and both were called as expert witnesses at the Ardlamont murder trial. Under their tutelage had been a young student named Arthur Conan Doyle. He had served as an assistant to Bell, where he was able to scrutinise at first-hand Bell's remarkable deductive powers. In fact, Conan Doyle went on to say of Bell: 'It is most certainly to you that I owe Sherlock Holmes'.

Saved in:

2nd Floor Show me where

364.1523/Smith
1 / 1 copies available
Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 364.1523/Smith Checked In
Subjects
Published
London : Michael O'Mara Books Limited 2018.
Language
English
Physical Description
254 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, map ; 24 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages 242-246) and index.
ISBN
1782438459
9781782438458
Main Author
Daniel Smith, 1976- (author)
  • The Holmes connection
  • Fates entwined
  • A gentleman and a scoundrel
  • A tangled web
  • Partners in crime-fighting
  • The body in the woods
  • An exact science
  • The third man
  • A national sensation
  • Two men in a boat
  • The smoking gun
  • A second opinion
  • The element of doubt
  • The jury returns
  • For a sheep as a lamb
  • The one that got away
  • A dog with a bad name
  • The veiled lover?
  • Aftermath.
Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Despite the misleading subtitle, Smith (How to Think like Sherlock: Improve Your Powers of Observation, Memory and Deduction) provides the definitive look at a sensational homicide case. In 1893, six years after Conan Doyle's first Holmes story was published, three men went out for a morning hunt on the Ardlamont Estate in Argyll, Scotland, and only two returned. Cecil Hambrough, a 20-year-old Army lieutenant, was killed by a shot in the back of the head, and one of his companions, Alfred Monson, who was retained by Hambrough's family to tutor him, asserted that Cecil had shot himself. Suspicions quickly developed that Monson murdered his charge; he and his wife owned two policies insuring Cecil's life, and just the evening before, Cecil almost died when the boat he was in, along with Monson, almost sank. The prosecution's witnesses included "two pioneers of forensic science," Dr. Joseph Bell and Dr. Henry Littlejohn, who were both significant influences on Conan Doyle's fictional detective. Making use of extensive archival research, Smith presents the inquiry, trial, and its aftermath with just the right amount of detail. Sherlockians and true crime buffs alike will be intrigued. (May) Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

The true story of the men - Joseph Bell and Henry Littlejohn - who inspired the creation of Sherlock Holmes.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

December 1893. Arthur Conan Doyle shocks his legions of fans by killing off the world's favorite fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes. Meanwhile, in Scotland, a sensational real-life murder trial is playing out. Alfred Monson, a scion of the aristocracy, is charged with killing a young army lieutenant, Cecil Hambrough, on the sprawling Ardlamont estate. The worlds of crime fiction and crime fact are about to collide spectacularly. Among the key prosecution witnesses were two esteemed Edinburgh doctors, Joseph Bell and Henry Littlejohn. Bell'Doyle's tutor when the author studied medicine in the 1870s'had recently been unmasked as the inspiration behind the creation of Sherlock Holmes. But what the public did not know was that Bell and Littlejohn'a pioneer in the emerging field of forensic detection'had actually been investigating crimes together for more than 20 years. Littlejohn deserves equal billing as the prototype of Baker Street's most famous resident. This book re-examines the evidence of the case that gripped Victorian Britain, putting forward his own theory as to why Cecil Hambrough was murdered. Outlining the key roles of the men whose powers of deduction and detection had so inspired Doyle, Smith explores the real-world origins of Sherlock Holmes through the prism of a mystery as engrossing as any case the Great Detective ever tackled.