The Strange Case of Dr. Doyle

A Journey into Madness & Mayhem

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The Strange Case of Dr. Doyle
Available
02/20/2015
Square One Publishers

WORLD ***

6.0 X 9.0 in
352 pg



TRUE CRIME / Murder / Serial Killers

9780757003486
$29.95 Hardback
Available
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The Strange Case of Dr. Doyle

By  MD Friedman
MD Friedman

Description

In the spring of 1905, members of an exclusive club of crime enthusiasts known as Our Society were taken on a guided excursion through Whitechapel, one of London’s most notorious districts, by Dr. Frederick Gordon Brown, the chief police surgeon for the City of London. But this was no ordinary sightseeing tour. The focus of the outing was Jack the Ripper’s reputed murder sites, and among the guests that day was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of the world’s greatest detective, Sherlock Holmes.

Here, now, in The Strange Case of Dr. Doyle by first-time son/father writing team Daniel Friedman, MD, and Eugene Friedman, MD, you are cordially invited to join a recreation of that tour. This expedition, however, will differ from the original in one very important way: It will be led by celebrated author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself. As you stroll beside Doyle and his other guests, you will travel to the location of each of the five canonical Ripper murders. Thanks to your guide’s observations and opinions, all of which are based on actual historical accounts, you will learn as much about the district of Whitechapel as you will the terrible Ripper killings that occurred there.

After each stop on the tour, you will also become acquainted with the life of Arthur Conan Doyle, from his earliest days in Edinburgh to his first taste of success as a writer. You will observe Arthur’s hardships at home, his experiences at boarding school, his adventures at sea, his university education, and his days as a working medical doctor. You will be granted a picture of the man as few have ever seen him. As you alternate between biography and tour, you will become a Holmes-like detective, unearthing facts, discovering details, and piecing together information about both Jack the Ripper and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. If you maintain a sharp mind and a keen eye, at the end of your journey, you may just uncover a truth you never expected to find.

Reviews

A "Featured Selection" of The Mystery Guild Book ClubMystery Guild Book Club (Bookspan)


"A father-and-son writing team explore Arthur Conan Doyle's fascination with the Jack the Ripper case . . . the book offers us an opportunity to see how Conan Doyle might have approached the Ripper investigation, had he been involved with it, and, in a larger sense, how Conan Doyle's keen analytic mind mirrored, in many ways, that of his most famous creation . . . [The Strange Case of Dr Doyle has] many virtues, including, most of all, the way it allows us to peek inside the mind of Arthur Conan Doyle. An annotated bibliography of sources is appended." Booklist


"Exposes the similarities of two very strange men, Jack the Ripper and Arthur Conan Doyle . . . interesting, as the authors expose the man with a titanic ego who always had a good excuse for his failures . . . the book goes on to raise intriguing questions and possibilities for fans of both men." Kirkus Reviews


“[A]ccurate and well researched. . . . [A]n engaging examination . . . the Friedmans’ conclusion about Jack and Doyle will raise eyebrows. . . . [B]ound to be read by fans of Victorian murder real and invented.” Library Journal


"Life is full of surprises, and The Strange Case of Dr. Doyle – written by a father-and-son pair of physicians and published by Square One Publishers, a small, indie book publisher in a town of 8,000 on Long Island, New York – is one of this year’s big literary amazements. This is a spectacular undertaking by Drs. Daniel and Eugene Friedman, who must be very good physicians if they can be judged by their passion, exhaustive research and absolutely flawless writing."The Durango Herald - "Murder Ink" columnist Jeff Mannix


"A gripping and fascinating read. Give the authors a chance and, well, you may start to look at Sherlock Holmes in an altogether different light . . . [the authors'] annotated bibliography is the best I have seen . . . The Friedmans certainly raise some interesting, not to say chilling, questions."Ripperologist Magazine (UK) - Paul Begg, world-renowned Jack the Ripper expert


“The authors, long-time fans of the writings of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, have turned the tables on this great author, using techniques that the great Sherlock Holmes and his creator would have applauded.”The Oakland Journal - Ted Odenwald


“It’s a fascinating tale, and points a guilty eye upon the least suspecting [sic] person we would think capable of the gruesome deed . . . extremely insightful, and well researched . . . illuminating. Highly recommended.”Detective Mystery Stories - Tom Johnson


Author Biography

Daniel Friedman, MD, received his BA from Stony Brook University, and his medical degree from St. George’s School of Medicine. He is currently a practicing pediatrician in Floral Park, NY, and is also an active member of the Cohen Children’s Medical Center, where he sits on the voluntary staff and computer committees. In addition to being an amateur sleuth, he spends his spare time playing guitar for the Friedman Brothers Band. Dr. Friedman resides in Long Island, NY with his wife Elena and their three children, Amanda, David, and Andrew

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Eugene Friedman, MD, received his BA from New York University, and his medical degree from New York Medical College. He was Chief Resident in Pediatrics at New York Medical College and attained the rank ofMajor Assistant Chief of Pediatrics at the Martin Army Hospital at Fort Benning, Georgia. Dr. Friedman has run a private practice in pediatrics for over thirty years. He is also an ardent gardener and a translator of late nineteenth-century French poetry. He and his wife, Sheryl, live on Long Island and have five children and thirteen grandchildren.

Flap copy

In the spring of 1905, members of an exclusive club of crime enthusiasts known as Our Society were taken on a guided excursion through Whitechapel, one of London’s most notorious districts, by Dr. Frederick Gordon Brown, the chief police surgeon for the City of London. But this was no ordinary sightseeing tour. The focus of the outing was Jack the Ripper’s reputed murder sites, and among the guests that day was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of the world’s greatest detective, Sherlock Holmes.

Here, now, in The Strange Case of Dr. Doyle by first-time son/father writing team Daniel Friedman, MD, and Eugene Friedman, MD, you are cordially invited to join a recreation of that tour. This expedition, however, will differ from the original in one very important way: It will be led by celebrated author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself. As you stroll beside Doyle and his other guests, you will travel to the location of each of the five canonical Ripper murders. Thanks to your guide’s observations and opinions, all of which are based on actual historical accounts, you will learn as much about the district of Whitechapel as you will the terrible Ripper killings that occurred there.

After each stop on the tour, you will also become acquainted with the life of Arthur Conan Doyle, from his earliest days in Edinburgh to his first taste of success as a writer. You will observe Arthur’s hardships at home, his experiences at boarding school, his adventures at sea, his university education, and his days as a working medical doctor. You will be granted a picture of the man as few have ever seen him. As you alternate between biography and tour, you will become a Holmes-like detective, unearthing facts, discovering details, and piecing together information about both Jack the Ripper and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. If you maintain a sharp mind and a keen eye, at the end of your journey, you may just uncover a truth you never expected to find.

Table of contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction
1. The Doyles
2. The London Hospital, 8 AM
3. Young Arthur
4. Hanbury Street, 9 AM
5. To Feldkirch and Back
6. The Ten Bells, 11 AM
7. The University of Edinburgh
8. Dutfield’s Yard, 1:30 PM
9. Apprentice and Arctic Adventurer
10. Mitre Square, 3 PM
11. Becoming Doctor Doyle
12. Goulston Street, 4 PM
13. An African Journey
14. Miller’s Court, 5 PM
15. His Portsmouth Practice
16. Miller’s Court, 6 PM
17. Of Marriage and Masons
18. The London Hospital, 6:30 PM
19. The Game is Afoot
Afterword

Annotated Bibliography
About the Authors
Index

Introduction or preface

In 1903, British stage actor Harry Brodribb Irving hosted a dinner party at his London home. The two prerequisites he had set for earning an invitation to this exclusive soirée were membership in London society’s upper echelon and expertise in the art of conversation. He made sure the ambience of the evening would be conducive to relaxed discussions of the day’s more controversial issues. Gradually, the group’s focus shifted to a single topic—murder.

Irving himself had already achieved a degree of fame through several of the books he had penned on the subject, and his guests that night were a collection of Britain’s best and brightest in the spheres of law enforcement, forensic medicine, journalism, and crime and mystery writing. Irving decided, then and there, that there was no way he would allow such lively exchanges on his favorite subject to end after just one night. By the evening’s conclusion, he proposed that this small assemblage establish a dinner club dedicated to the formal study of murder and the criminal mind. Its mission would be “the propagation of truth and the communication of new ideas—rather from the necessities of things than upon any one man’s suggestion.”

This fraternity was not to be open to all who would want to join it, for, in the spirit of the day, it was designed to remain both exclusive and secretive. The roster of its first class was comprised of S. Ingleby Oddie, the City of London Police Surgeon; Norwich’s Dr. Herbert Crosse, a medico-legal expert; James Beresford Atlay, a noted barrister and archivist of crime; Arthur Lambton, writer and journalist, and the club’s first secretary; and, of course, Harry Irving himself. Almost immediately after its creation, the dinner club added to its members William Le Queux, the master of mystery writing; A.E.W. Mason, actor, author, and future spy; Max Pemberton, lawyer, mystery novelist, and journalist; John Churton Collins, Oxford professor and writer; George R. Sims, humorist, journalist, and poet; E.W. Hornung, creator of A.J. Raffles, the gentleman thief; and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the recently knighted author.

This diverse group of gentlemen brought to the table credentials that qualified each of them as an expert in the inner workings of the criminal mind. Soon, admission to the club became one of the most sought-after prizes in the realm. While these gifted individuals referred to their club rather snobbishly as “Our Society,” the British press decided to tag the group with a somewhat more lurid label: the “Murder Club.” Its dinner meetings were held four times a year at the Great Central Hotel on Marylebone Road, and in the early days, these gatherings were informal affairs, where celebrated cases were bandied about in a chatty yet sophisticated manner. Some of its members had unprecedented access to crime photographs, weapons, letters, and other authenticated evidence associated with sensational cases. Indeed, some of the clubmen had been able to obtain and amass the rarest of specimens from crimes that had occurred as much as a century earlier. Many of these items were assembled into special exhibits and transported to the club’s dinner discussions, so these privileged associates could view and, in some instances, even hold them in their own hands.

Although Our Society was established as a sit-down dinner club, it refused to restrict itself to the confines of hotel meeting rooms. Within a year of its formation, the Murder Club went on its first field trip. On Wednesday, April 19, 1905, the three members of Our Society who were alumni of the University of Edinburgh School of Medicine—Dr. Samuel Ingleby Oddie, Dr. Arthur Conan Doyle, and Dr. Herbert Crosse—along with H. B. Irving, John Churton Collins, and Collins’s twenty-six-year-old son, Laurence—met up with Oddie’s old friend Dr. Frederick Gordon Brown in front of the City of London Police Hospital in Bishopsgate. Brown, who was the current City of London chief police surgeon, owed his reputation to his knowledge of the burgeoning field of crime scene investigation, which had begun only three years before. He would take this select group on the excursion of a lifetime, a guided tour of one of London’s roughest areas, Whitechapel. 

Although criminal activity, debauchery, and murder had always been considered intrinsic components of the district, the name Whitechapel had not evoked universal fear and horror until seventeen years prior when, in the late summer of 1888, the man who would become known as Jack the Ripper began his victimization of some of the area’s female residents. Wanting to perform its own investigation of the still unsolved Ripper murders, Our Society had decided to enlist the assistance of Brown and two police detectives who “knew all the facts about the murders.” 

On this early spring day, the group of nine sallied forth to visit the sites at which it was said the Ripper had performed such terrible deeds. Moreover, Brown was not about to forfeit this rare opportunity to impress such an elite band of amateur crime solvers with his encyclopedic knowledge of non-Ripper related cases, sometimes taking the group to places that bore only peripheral relationships to the Ripper legend, hoping to create a better understanding of the neighborhood’s social, economic, and emotional climate during Jack’s reign of terror. This jaunt into unglamorous real life was exactly the type of thing in which all the members of Our Society reveled. In fact, according to the elder Collins, Doyle has been mesmerized by the hustle and bustle of the area.

As the group’s first president, Arthur Lambton was the acknowledged leader of Our Society, but it was Doyle’s association with the club that gave it its elevated status. Doyle, who had immersed himself in all of London’s activities, always managed to become the center of attention wherever he went. Everyone wanted to share the limelight with him. Doyle was held in the highest esteem by the Crown, mostly for his work chronicling the Boer War. In 1902, King Edward VII awarded him a knighthood, which he would have turned down had his mother not insisted that he accept the designation of “Sir.” As the most famous writer on the hottest topic of his day—crime—Doyle had the good fortune to find himself at a time when this subject was shedding its scruffy image and evolving into a refined science. He always seemed to be a half step ahead of the club’s other members when it came to the details of so many noteworthy crimes. 

While there have been many theories regarding Jack the Ripper’s identity, over a hundred years later, his real name remains unknown. Perhaps a clearer understanding of the facts as they exist may shed light on this mystery. To this end, we have taken the liberty of bringing you, the reader, on a tour of Whitechapel similar to the one taken by Our Society in 1905. This book’s rendition of the original expedition is set five years later, and is presented in such a way as to avoid any confusion regarding the order of Ripper events. And who is better qualified to conduct our tour than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle? Replacing the other original tour members are eight fictionalized surrogates who will serve to ask and answer the reader’s questions along the way. Although this tour never happened, the facts of the murders as described are accurate, and the comments and opinions offered by Dr. Doyle and his invited guests are based on historical records. While the original tour visited nine documented murder sites on April 19, 1905, only the five Ripper sites recognized by Doyle are visited and discussed on this outing.

Along with our fictitious hunt for Jack the Ripper, we also offer a nonfictional look at the young Arthur Conan Doyle. To understand the man himself, and the ideas on which he expounds within our tour, we present a detailed biography based on the first thirty years of his life. We trace Doyle’s roots back to his earliest days in Edinburgh and watch as his life unfolds. We witness his hardships, education, adventures, and entanglements, allowing us to perceive the renowned author as few have ever done before. Alternating between biography and tour, we hope to give you not only the chance to piece together the picture of a famous man, but also the opportunity to solve a series of infamous crimes. The game is afoot.