Born into a prosperous Irish-Catholic family in Edinburgh in 1859, Arthur Conan Doyle was bought up by his father Charles Altamont Doyle, an artist and chronic alcoholic, and his mother Mary Doyle, a master storyteller. At nine years old, Arthur was sent to Hodder Place, a Jesuit boarding school in Lancashire that prepped students for Stonyhurst College – thought to have inspired Baskerville Hall. Doyle rebelled against the teaching style and found solace in writing letters to his mother. It was during this letter writing that he discovered his own talent for storytelling.
After graduating at 17, he went on to study medicine at the University of Edinburgh Medical School and practical botany at the Royal Botanic Garden. As a young medical student, he met James Barrie and Robert Louis Stevenson as well as several other future authors at the same university, and yet it was one of his teachers, Dr Jospeh Bell, who influenced him the most and later became the inspiration behind the most popular fictional detective in history: Sherlock Holmes.
With his mastery of observation, logic and deduction, Sherlock Holmes first appeared with his partner in detection Dr Watson in A Study in Scarlet (1887). This was the first of four novels and fifty-six short stories including The Final Problem (1893) in which Holmes and arch villain Professor Moriarty plunge to their deaths. Their demise created such public outcry that Holmes returned in The Hound of the Baskervilles (1901). Holmes went on to infiltrate a German spy ring in His Last Bow (1914), before rounding off his career in The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes (1928), the last twelve stories about the now immortal detective.