How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. — Sherlock Holmes
When Holmes wearied of mundane Victorian reality, he reached for the cocaine; his creator Doyle reached beyond reality, to the occult mystery world as real to him as a hansom cab—so real that it became part of his fiction. It is no surprise that in the year "A Study in Scarlet" appeared (1887), this versatile writer was reading seriously in spiritualism, attending séances, and had already written some of the thrilling tales in this book.
The Best Supernatural Tales of Arthur Conan Doyle gathers together for the first time in an American edition the fifteen finest short stories in this genre by the master storyteller. Relative to his vast literary output, Doyle wrote comparatively few stories dealing specifically with spiritualism, Egyptian magic, psychometry, and other occult domains he knew so thoroughly — and these scattered stories, skeptically dismissed or simply buried beneath the mass of his detective, historical, sports, medical, and other pieces, have yet to receive their due as superior or typical examples of his narrative power.
The polymath Doyle has recourse to many twilit borderline realms of the beyond in these stories which appeared in various periodicals from 1880 to 1921. "The Bully of Brocas Court" gives a new slant to the Victorian ghost story in one of Doyle's favorite settings, the world of boxing. "The Captain of the Polestar" recalls the weird northern backdrop of the author's whaling adventures; "The Brown Hand" deals in body-soul bondage with a touch of the East. Two hackle-raising histories, "Lot No. 249" and "The Ring of Thoth," depend on the riddle of Egyptian mummy lore; "The Leather Funnel" and "The Silver Hatchet" involve psychometry, a material object's retention of an aura or memory of its past, which a sensitive being can "replay" through dreams. And then there is "J. Habakuk Jephson's Statement," Doyle's speculative solution to the Marie Celeste conundrum, which was vehemently denounced when published (anonymously) because it seemed so true and so terrible.
Doyle readers, students of the occult, and anyone who loves an imaginative tale will wish to experience, through these obscure, rarely reprinted stories, what was personally so close to their author.
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About the Author
Arthur Conan Doyle was a prolific writer born in Scotland who started out as a medical doctor. While at the University of Edinburgh, he augmented his income by writing stories. His first Sherlock Holmes tale was published in 1887, introducing one of literature's best-loved detectives. Doyle has also written many works of history and science fiction, plus plays and poetry.
Table of Contents
Arthur Conan Doyle and His Supernatural Fiction
The Bully of Brocas Court
The Captain of the Polestar
The Brown Hand
The Leather Funnel
Lot No. 249
J. Habakuk Jephson's Statement
The Great Keinplatz Experiment
A Literary Mosaic
Playing with Fire
The Ring of Thoth
The Los Amigos Fiasco
The Silver Hatchet
John Barrington Cowles
Selecting a Ghost
The American's Tale
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Best Supernatural Tales of Arthur Conan Doyle based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
These stories are fast, fun, and interesting. Only rated it three stars because the website doesn't offer a list of which stories are in here. I bought two other ACD collections, and between those, everything in this book is covered. The stories themselves are excellent, but I could have saved some money had I been able to check the index.