If Conan Doyle for the Defense were just a narrative of Arthur Conan Doyle’s efforts to free a man who was railroaded for a crime that it was obvious to any unbiased observer he did not commit, I might not be writing this. But it is much more.
The book blends elements of Doyle’s upbringing and life with the cultural and social history of the times–Great Britain during the end of the Victorian Era and the early 20th Century. The author gracefully pirouettes among threads addressing
- the historical facts of the crime and prosecution,
- the societal climate and forces of the day,
- the culture and woeful techniques of police work of the time,
- the traits and talents Conan Doyle brought to the case, including biographical elements.
And, as the author points out in her forward, there are parallels–I would say quite eerie parallels–between that time and ours.
We stumbled over this volume at our favorite bookshop.