Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Long-Lost First Novel To Be Published

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Getty / E. O. Hoppe

Author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle seated reading in Music Room of his home Undershaw.

Years before he published his first Sherlock Holmes novel, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle constructed The Narrative of John Smith, his first book. Written between 1883 and 1884, when the author was in his 20s, it was sent to a publisher but lost in the mail. Although Conan Doyle reconstructed it from memory, it was never fully finished, and the manuscripts have remained in the British Library ever since. But all that is about to change. According to the BBC, Rachel Foss, lead curator of modern literary manuscripts at the British Library, is publishing the book this autumn.

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For all you Sherlock Holmes fans, don’t expect another action-packed detective story. The Narrative of John Smith is about a man’s reflections on life after he finds himself confined to his room with gout. According to Foss it is also “loose in plot and characterization.” However, we still say give it a chance! After all, it is the hidden work of a great literary mind. And a battle with gout could prove quite interesting.

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