Fascinating biographical material centred on the months that were “the turning point in Conan Doyle’s life.” On a personal note, I [David] was fascinated to learn that Conan Doyle spent nearly a year in the beautiful Alpine village Feldkirch in western Austria. Fascinated not least because I’ve been to Feldkirch (a close friend grew up there, still lives there). It was also fascinating to hear about the Strand Magazine’s timely emergence on the scene and magazine and Conan Doyle coming together (“it was very obvious to the Strand [Magazine] that Doyle’s stories were, firstly, exceptional quality, and secondly, extremely popular”). And of course, high quality “financial” biographical information never comes amiss (that, for example, Conan Doyle went from “an income of about £300 a year to an income of £1500 a year (as a writer).”
Richard reads the end of the Conan Doyle story The Surgeon of Faster Fell. The brilliant conclusion of “Mr. Upperton’s strange experiences out there on the bleak Pennine Moors.” As always – it would be being a Richard read – it’s pitch-perfect. Riveting, really. (As I said in my note to yesterday’s (December 14, 2020) Podcast – Part I of Richard’s two-parter – for anyone who doesn’t know, Richard reads professionally for Audible.* So this is a supremely professional, treat of a listen, a beautiful listen.)*66 books – fiction, history, science, etc. – and counting
A concluding short biographical passage – I call it, quoting Richard, the “buried in the secrets of the past” coda – in which Richard opens up to full view why this extraordinary narrative was so close to the bone for Conan Doyle. We learn – I hadn’t the foggiest about this – that “Conan Doyle’s father had been in a series of institutions.” Well, when you hear the story, The Surgeon of Faster Fell, that scrap of biographical information makes for a eureka moment.
Final pronouncement about what Richard‘s done here (and yesterday): high-quality stuff.
Image by Chamindu Perera