December 3, 2004
Elementary, Watson—Doyle was lying! . . .
by Dennis Johnson
The unpublished first novel of Arthur Conan Doyle—The Narrative of John Smith—went on display at the British Library in London yesterday, along with “Letters, diaries and photographs, including a telegram from escapologist Harry Houdini,” according to a BBC News wire story. The novel, written in 1897, “was thought to have been lost in the Post,” reports the BBC, but it says Doyle wasn’t too bothered by that, commenting that “I must in all honesty confess that my shock at its disappearance would be as nothing to my horror if it were suddenly to appear again — in print.” The Beeb doesn’t explain how the manuscript has apparently turned up after all.
Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House.