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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good but some rookie errors, 10 July 2009
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This is easily the most readable Conan Doyle biography since "Teller of Tales" by Daniel Stashower. Andrew Lycett's slightly earlier biography is, in my opinion, richer on details but is a lot harder to wade through.

The only reason that I have not given five stars is that Miller is guilty of some silly errors. He gets the number of Sherlock Holmes stories wrong and, by omitting certain details, he creates an inaccurate impression of where Conan Doyle was at certain periods of his life.

Miller's book is good but should not be your sole Conan Doyle reference. It will serve you best if you have other books (such as Andrew Lycett's) to plug the gaps that he leaves.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must Read, 15 Oct 2008
Russell Miller's The Adventures of Arthur Conan Doyle is a compulsive read about the author who will always be associated with fiction's best known detective Sherlock Holmes. The biography contains surprising new material which is skillfully weaved into what could have been a routine narrative. Until I read this fascinating book I was unaware how slapdash Conan Doyle often was. Miller points out how some of Doyle's Holmes stories were carelessly written and riddled with inconsistencies. He is also very good on Doyle's personal life and writes touchingly about his honourable decision to remain married to his consumptive first wife Touie, despite having fallen deeply in love with a woman 16 years his junior, whom he eventually married after Touie had died. The biography is also very enlightening on Doyle's championship of those he considered to have been victims of injustice. But as Miller tells us Doyle was not without flaws. In later life his energetic support for the spiritualist movement harmed his reputation. To sum up : this is a revealing and sympathetic portrait of an exceptional man.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very worthwhile biography, 12 Aug 2009
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Ye Olde Ed (Chelmsford, England) - See all my reviews
A year after Andrew Lycett's "Conan Doyle: The Man Who Created Sherlock Holmes" comes "The Adventures of Arthur Conan Doyle" by Russell Miller - prompting the question: Do we really need another biography of Conan Doyle? Well, yes, I think we do - specifically because Russell Miller has had free access to the material that Richard Lancelyn Green bequeathed to the Conan Doyle Collection at Portsmouth and to all Sir Arthur's known surviving letters. Like Andrew Lycett, Mr Miller is an experienced biographer, and, like John Dickson Carr, he's an accomplished storyteller. His book is intensely readable, and, though I'm pretty sure that he likes Conan Doyle and would like to have known him, he maintains his objectivity, in recalling some of his subject's less loveable and less admirable traits. There's the odd error. For example, the frontispiece to the 1887 "Beeton's Christmas Annual" doesn't portray Holmes "as an anonymous figure stooped over a corpse" (that comes later): instead it shows Holmes, Watson, Gregson and Lestrade examining the word "Rache". There are some curious opinions too. In the portrait Sidney Paget, we're told, Sir Arthur looks "more like a Victorian banker than a writer" - but is there really a standard model for writers? And there are several descriptions of ACD as "unsmiling" in paintings and photographs, as if that was unusual, which it wasn't. But these are quibbles. This biography combines information and entertainment to a commendable degree.

Roger Johnson, Editor of "The Sherlock Holmes Journal"
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest books by Russel Miller, 29 Oct 2008
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Mr. Ralph Smorczewski (West Sussex, GB) - See all my reviews
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With two books about Arthur Conan Doyle already published this year, it must have been a daunting task to find original material about a very similar subject. Russell Miller, the author of Adventures of Athur Conan Doyle seems to have done that.The picture of Conan Doyle that emerges from what has clearly been fairly intensive research, is a likeable, highly intelligent, shrewd and ultimately flawed human being, who happened to be a genius. That Miller is a journalist by profession, is clear from the crisp, informed and highly readable style. His aim was plainly to steer clear of a scholarly, foot-note rich work of reference and produce a reader-friendly biography.
Many readers think of Conan Doyle only in terms of his great creation, Sherlock Holmes. This book, assembled in three sections, describes his life as a doctor - he was ship's doctor on a whaler - as a writer of novels and military history and as a devout spiritualist. His obstinate belief in life 'on the other side', his vulnerability to charlatan mediums and his laughable belief in the Cottingley Fairies, for example - and all this despite a scientific training - damaged his reputation beyond repair. A sad and ignoble end to a wonderful literary life
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars fascinating and erudite study,Miller does it again., 3 Nov 2008
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This is a very well constucted biography of a giant in popular literature. I cannot recommend it highly enough. The adventures of the writer become as exciting as the works he wrote. His later self delusion in the spiritualist movement, gets poignant payback. I read it with great pleasure. Informative and entertaining.Buy it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating and revealing depiction of Conan Doyle, 15 Oct 2008
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C. A. Blend (London, England) - See all my reviews
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As an avid fan of Sherlock Holmes, I was excited to read this new biography of his creator, Arthur Conan Doyle. This is the only book to be written in light of much previously unseen correspondence of ACD. It reveals a man who had so much more to his life than a detective with a pipe and a distinctive hat. I knew little of Arthur Conan Doyle's conversion to spiritualism and the effect that it had on his life and reputation and was touched by the tragic love story involving his consumptive wife and the woman who he truly loved. This book is engaging and very well written. I found it hard to put down as I became more engrossed in this fascinating story. Miller writes clearly and comprehensively and this book is obviously a work of true dedication to his subject matter. His style is engaging and intelligent. This would be a perfect Christmas present as it just begs to be taken to a comfy chair in front of the fire on a winter afternoon.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Russell Miller The Adventures of Arthur Conan Doyle, 15 Oct 2008
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Mr. Robert Cotton "basil seal" (london uk) - See all my reviews
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Russell Miller's The Adventures of Arthur Conan Doyle is a treat, both for Holmes fans and those intrigued by Doyle himself. Miller is that unusual author who marries immense readability with in-depth scholarly research, so expect to get sucked into his fascinating narrative of Doyle's life straight away. And don't be put off by the faux Victorian cover design - though I expect (hope) that the publishers will be more adventurous with the paperback.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full, frank and fascinating., 10 April 2013
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This review is from: The Adventures of Arthur Conan Doyle (Paperback)
I always knew this was going to be a good read, coming from the biographer who gave the world the fantastic and controversial Barefaced Messiah, but Russell Miller really does deliver with this wonderful bio of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. He goes deep into the literary/intellectual roots of the Doyle family, explaining the origins of Doyle's odd, alcoholic father and tough, long-suffering mother.

This is a thorough and in some cases unforgiving biography, exploring not only the faces Doyle wanted to show to the world (author, adventurer, physician, family man) but those he would have prefer to have kept hidden, such as his role in the long, painful compromise between his dying wife and his lover, or the ugliness of his jingoism in spite of the ghastly facts of World War I, a war that would rob him of numerous close relatives, including his eldest son Kingsley. In the final part it plunges headlong into the bizarre world of Doyle the Spiritualist, when he came to genuinely believe that his wife's spirit guide was prophecying some kind of spiritualist rapture for the year 1925, and that there really were fairies in Cottingley Glen.

This is not to say Russell Miller has written a hatchet job - far from it. He has brought to life the real Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - sentimental, romantic, brave, funny, infuriating, stubborn and hopeless at judging the merit of his own work. (Doyle famously thought the Hound of the Baskervilles one of his weakest stories.)

Miller charts the ebbs and flows of the most important relationships in Doyle's life - between his mother (The Mam), his second wife Jean Leckie and perhaps most interestingly of all, his increasingly strained relationship with 'the most famous man who never was' - his own fictional creation, Sherlock Holmes.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Really pleased with this book, 23 Oct 2014
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This review is from: The Adventures of Arthur Conan Doyle (Paperback)
Really pleased with this book, I've been borrowing it from the library so it's great to own it. Fast delivery and good packaging.
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The Adventures of Arthur Conan Doyle
The Adventures of Arthur Conan Doyle by Russell Miller (Paperback - 3 Sep 2009)
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