Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle was born the third of ten siblings on May 22nd, 1859, in Edinburgh, Scotland. Charles Altamont Doyle, Arthur's father, a chronic alcoholic, was the only member of his family, who apart from fathering a brilliant son, never accomplished anything of note. At the age of twenty-two, Charles had married Mary Foley, a vivacious and very well educated young woman of seventeen. His mother had a passion for books and was a fantastic storyteller. Arthur once wrote of his mother’s gift of “sinking her voice to a horror-stricken whisper” when she reached the culminating point of a story. His family was very poor and they had a hard time functioning with his father’s erratic behavior. When Arthur was nine years old the wealthy members of the Doyle family offered to pay for him to go to school in England. For seven years he went to a Jesuit boarding school. During those years, Arthur’s only moments of joy were when he wrote his mother, which became a regular habit that lasted the reminder of her life, and he also participated in sports, at which he was very talented. Among finding his talent for sports, he also noticed his ability to tell stories. He was said to be found with hoards of younger students surrounding him listening to his stories he would make up to entertain them. He graduated in 1876 at the age of seventeen.
Years later he wrote, "Perhaps it was good for me that the times were hard, for I was wild, full blooded and a trifle reckless. But the situation called for energy and application so that one was bound to try to meet it. My mother had been so splendid that I could not fail her."
Arthur Doyle went on to write some of the most captivating literature of his time, literature that includes the stories of the detective Sherlock Holmes.(1)
Unless otherwise noted, all textual references refer to The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.(2)