17 OCTOBER 1931, Page 30

The literary reputation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has been

somewhat obscured by the activities of his later public life. Engaging, with characteristic integrity and force, upon a fresh career in controversial waters, he deliberately risked the swamping of his previous labours. From the literary point of view this was a pity ; for the author of The White Company and Rodney Stone must take an honourable place in the history of English letters. Conan Doyle was never a stylist, and in the short story of his period he was eclipsed by Mr. Kipling and Mr. Wells ; but he follows at a respectable distance behind these masters. The Striped Chest, Captain Sharkey, The Croxley Master, The Debut of Bimbashi Joyce—these are stories of which no writer need be ashamed. And, of course, there is Sherlock Holmes. The Rev. John Lamond, in his Arthur Conan Doyle : A Memoir (John Murray, 12s. 6d.), holds a fair balance between Sir Arthur's numerous activities. His survey of Sir Arthur's literary work is more enthusiastic than dis- criminating. ' The verses need not have been disinterred ; and it would perhaps be better for Mr. Lamond's own purposes if he could have dealt with Sir Arthur's spiritualistic activities in a more objective manner.

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