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Conan Doyle's first novel to be published

7th June 2011

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's debut novel is finally to be published almost 130 years after it was completed.

The Narrative of John Smith was written between 1883 and 1884 and is an examination of the psyche of a man confined to his bedroom with gout.

Conan Doyle sent the manuscript to his publisher in the post shortly after completing the work but it was lost in transit, meaning the author had to reconstruct it from memory.

The failure to get the work published meant that the first Sherlock Holmes book, A Study in Scarlet, instead became Conan Doyle's official debut novel in 1887.

Rachel Foss, lead curator of modern literary manuscripts at the British Library, received the consent of the Arthur Conan Doyle Literary Estate before embarking on the publishing project.

She described the novel as 'loose in plot and characterisation' to the BBC, though claimed it introduces a landlady character who would likely prove the basis for Sherlock Holmes' landlady, Mrs Hudson.

In April, Conan Doyle's 1912 adventure The Lost World became one of a series of science fiction novels to be published with 3D covers by Random House Group imprint Vintage Classics.

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