Conan Doyle for the Defense : The True Story of a Sensational British Murder, a Quest for Justice, and the World's Most Famous Detective Writer
by Fox, Margalit







Author's Notexiii
Introductionxv
Prologue: Prisoner 2988xxiii
Book One Diamonds
Chapter One A Footfall on the Stair
3(18)
Chapter Two The Mysterious Mr. Anderson
21(13)
Chapter Three The Knight-Errant
34(16)
Chapter Four The Man in the Donegal Cap
50(11)
Book Two Blood
Chapter Five Traces
61(9)
Chapter Six The Original Sherlock Holmes
70(8)
Chapter Seven The Art of Reasoning Backward
78(7)
Chapter Eight A Case of Identity
85(20)
Book Three Granite
Chapter Nine The Trap Door
105(14)
Chapter Ten "Until He Be Dead"
119(9)
Chapter Eleven The Cold Cruel Sea
128(11)
Chapter Twelve Arthur Conan Doyle, Consulting- Detective
139(11)
Chapter Thirteen The Strange Case of George Edalji
150(8)
Chapter Fourteen Prisoner 1992
158(11)
Book Four Paper
Chapter Fifteen "You Know My Method"
169(21)
Chapter Sixteen The Ruin of John Thomson Trench
190(15)
Chapter Seventeen Cannibals Included
205(12)
Chapter Eighteen The Purloined Brooch
217(9)
Chapter Nineteen The Gates of Peterhead
226(6)
Chapter Twenty More Light, More Justice
232(11)
Chapter Twenty-one The Knight and the Knave
243(7)
Epilogue: What Became of Them250(5)
Acknowledgments255(4)
Cast Of Characters259(4)
Glossary263(2)
References265(8)
Notes273(36)
Index309


A true-crime procedural documents how Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle became involved in the 1908 wrongful conviction case of an immigrant Jewish cardsharp whose innocence was proven by Doyle's use of reason and the scientific method.





A retired senior writer at The New York TimesMargalit Fox is considered one the foremost explanatory writers and literary stylists in American journalism. As a longtime member of the newspaper’s celebrated Obituary News Department, she has written the front-page public sendoffs of some of the leading cultural figures of our age. (Conan Doyle for the Defense is in many ways a fond belated obituary—for the long-overlooked Oscar Slater, an immigrant Everyman treated inexcusably by history.) Fox’s previous book, The Riddle of the Labyrinth, won the William Saroyan Prize for International Writing. She lives in Manhattan with her husband, the writer and critic George Robinson.





Oscar Slater was a pimp, a gangster, and a friend to scum, but he didn't deserve what happened to him. He was accused of a 1908 Glasgow murder he didn't commit-based on evidence that didn't prove anything, identified by eyewitnesses who were manipulated by the police-and spent nearly 20 years in a hellhole of a Scottish prison. Slater secured his place in history when the whole sordid matter came to the attention of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The creator of Sherlock Holmes applied the Great Detective's methods, and, in time, Slater was freed. Fox does a marvelous job following Doyle's piecing together of the case, noting that the methods of the detective were rooted in Doyle's medical background. Like Holmes, Doyle is, in effect, diagnosing a crime scene, only this time in real life. Each cigarette butt is aching to tell its story; learn to listen. Fox also links the new century's fascination with the evolving philosophy of empiricism, which, like Holmes, stressed that absorbing the evidence of the senses is the first step in answering the question, "What happened?" A compelling true-crime account. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.






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