Unpublished Conan Doyle stories — 'not very good'

Photo of Arthur Conan Doyle
Sir Arthur Conan

The strange tale of a set of stories found locked away in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's safe after his death is revealed in the John Murray Archive.

Among the author's papers now held at the National Library of Scotland is evidence that even Sir Arthur had 'off' days.

After his death in 1930, Conan Doyle's publisher John Murray found the stories and had them typed up. However, in the archive is a note found with them which describes them as 'not very good and not used as the quality is poor'.


Early versions of Holmes and Watson

The stories include some early experiments with characters similar to Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson. Some were published in obscure publications, but most are unknown to the reading public.

Although they may not be of high quality, they are still of great interest, given Conan Doyle's status as one of the giants of English literature.


Archive at NLS now complete

These papers are among the final donations by the Murray family to the John Murray Archive at the National Library. Formerly held in London, this publishing archive provides a remarkable insight into British life over three centuries.

Among other highlights recently added are:

  • Drawings by Osbert Lancaster who invented the pocket cartoon in daily newspapers and produced cartoons for the 'Daily Express' from 1939-1981
  • Travel notebooks belonging to John Murray III which are considered the precursor to the first modern travel guides
  • Registers which reveal the names of authors who contributed anonymously to the 'Quarterly Review', one of most important publications of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Read more in our Conan Doyle papers press release.

30 April 2012

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