“Had Conan Doyle Read Henry Cauvain’s Maximilien Heller?”

This is the title of an article in issue 75 of the influential CADS (Crime and Detective Stories) magazine, with a highly knowledgeable readership. It can be found here:  CADS75p41-44

It points out that the French novel Maximilien Heller, which preceded the first appearance of Sherlock Holmes by 16 years, featured a drug-taking private detective with acute analytic and deductive powers, a profound knowledge of the forensic science of the day, and a facility for disguise. He was frequently consulted by the police and his audacious exploits were recorded by his friend and confidant, a doctor. Sound vaguely familiar?

Doyle himself claimed he based the character of Sherlock Holmes on Dr. Joseph Bell, his professor at medical school. Better that than admit he lifted the character lock, stock and barrel from a foreign author. But that should not detract from the fact that Doyle was a far, far better writer than Cauvain and one of the world’s great storytellers who¬†deserved every bit of his fame.

The article makes specific reference to LRI’s The Killing Needle–published in 2014 and based on an alternative version of Maximilien Heller, L’Aiguille Qui Tue —and urges people to buy it. Far be it from me to disagree…

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