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Conan Doyle for the Defense: The True Story…
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Conan Doyle for the Defense: The True Story of a Sensational British Murder, a Quest for Justice, and the World's Most Famous Detective Writer (urspr publ 2018; utgåvan 2018)

av Margalit Fox (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
2721296,043 (3.85)15
Biography & Autobiography. Law. True Crime. Nonfiction. HTML:??A wonderfully vivid portrait of the man behind Sherlock Holmes . . . Like all the best historical true crime books, it??s about so much more than crime.???Tana French, author of In the Woods
 
/> A sensational Edwardian murder. A scandalous wrongful conviction. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to the rescue??a true story.    
After a wealthy woman was brutally murdered in her Glasgow home in 1908, the police found a convenient suspect in Oscar Slater, an immigrant Jewish cardsharp. Though he was known to be innocent, Slater was tried, convicted, and consigned to life at hard labor. Outraged by this injustice, Arthur Conan Doyle, already world renowned as the creator of Sherlock Holmes, used the methods of his most famous character to reinvestigate the case, ultimately winning Slater??s freedom.
With ??an eye for the telling detail, a forensic sense of evidence and a relish for research? (The Wall Street Journal), Margalit Fox immerses readers in the science of Edwardian crime detection and illuminates a watershed moment in its history, when reflexive prejudice began to be replaced by reason and the scientific method.
Praise for Conan Doyle for the Defense
??Artful and compelling . . . [Fox??s] narrative momentum never flags. . . . Conan Doyle for the Defense will captivate almost any reader while being pure catnip for the devotee of true-crime writing.???The Washington Post
??Developed with brio . . . [Fox] is excellent in linking the 19th-century creation of policing and detection with the development of both detective fiction and the science of forensics??ballistics, fingerprints, toxicology and serology??as well as the quasi science of ??criminal anthropology.?????The New York Times Book Review
??[Fox] has an eye for the telling detail, a forensic sense of evidence and a relish for research.???The Wall Street Journal

??Gripping . . . The book works on two levels, much like a good Holmes case. First, it is a fluid story of a crime. . . . Second, and more pertinently, it is a deeper story of how prejudice against a class of people, the covering up of sloppy police work and a poisonous political atmosphere can doom an innocent. We should all heed Holmes??s salutary lesson:… (mer)
Medlem:GordonPrescottWiener
Titel:Conan Doyle for the Defense: The True Story of a Sensational British Murder, a Quest for Justice, and the World's Most Famous Detective Writer
Författare:Margalit Fox (Författare)
Info:Random House (2018), Edition: First Edition, 352 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
Betyg:*****
Taggar:Ingen/inga

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Conan Doyle for the Defense: The True Story of a Sensational British Murder, a Quest for Justice, and the World's Most Famous Detective Writer av Margalit Fox (2018)

Crime (60)
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» Se även 15 omnämnanden

Visa 1-5 av 12 (nästa | visa alla)
Conan Doyle for the Defense written by Margalit Fox is a true and delicious tale about how Oscar Slater, a German Jewish immigrant living in Scotland, was falsely accused of murder. Antisemitism and a corrupt legal system were the culprits. With the writer of Sherlock Holmes having to solve a real case, you are in for a fascinating read. Even when his sentence was commuted, they couldn't release Oscar because his German citizenship had expired and his innocence would never be accepted by the public. It was amazing the lengths British government would take to frame the “Other”-Jewish German and even sentence Oscar to death. It makes one question whether things have improved today with the flourishing of Antisemitism. ( )
  GordonPrescottWiener | Aug 24, 2023 |
Margalit Fox is probably my current favorite non-fiction writer. She has an unrivaled ability to both tell a very detailed story and also provide a context that makes it meaningful. In this case, the story is the wrongful imprisonment of the Jewish German immigrant Oscar Slater, and the navigation of his subsequent release by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The context chapters are wide-ranging, for instance: the history of criminology versus true forensic science (the former assumes the type of person a criminal is, then looks for clues to support it, while the latter uses abductive reasoning to come to a conclusion), Victorian sensibility and the life and times of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (who apparently really hated being called Arthur casually). But the bulk of the context chapters focus on the xenophobia of Victorian Scotland with a particular focus on their anti-semitism and abject hatred of immigrants. Obviously, I found this highly relevant to current events.

I felt like she had a little more zip when writing about linguistics in her two previous books. I also missed the formal alternation of chapters -- in Conan Doyle for the Defense there's a poor balance of thematic chapters and plot chapters in some sections. Nonetheless, I learned a lot and really enjoyed the narrative while doing so. ( )
  settingshadow | Aug 19, 2023 |
4 stars for the writing, but I bumped it up .5 star because I learned a lot I didn’t know before I started.

The title is something of a misnomer, as it implies that Conan Doyle was an active participant in the defence of Oscar Slater, and he wasn’t – he didn’t involve himself until several years after Slater’s conviction and incarceration. Once he did, however, he did it to devastating effect, but to no avail; it wasn’t until he renewed his efforts some 15 years later, in partnership with an investigative journalist, William Park, that the gears of justice finally started to grind.

As much as this book is about the gross injustice served upon Oscar Slater (it was indeed Scotland’s Dreyfus affair), it’s also a revealing look into Scotland at the turn of the century, when science was just beginning to gain its capital “S” but society still stood firmly in the class and morality rigid past. The level of anti-Semitism was profound, something I would never have associated with Scotland, such is my ignorance of history.

In my status update, I had gotten just to the point in the book where it looked like the author was going to make an argument for pre-meditation on behalf of the Glasgow police, in framing Slater for the crime, while at the same time detailing the force’s stupidity. Her argument didn’t proceed quite along the lines it looked to be headed, but she did, in the end, paint the force as being results-oriented to the point of gross injustice. It’s clear that the only concern was not only an arrest and conviction, but an arrest and conviction of somebody deemed undesirable; an effort to kill two birds with one stone. That they were willing to forge documents and browbeat witnesses into perjury is clearly documented and the only greater injustice than the one done to Slater is that those most guilty were all dead before they could be held to account for their own crimes.

Because the story of just Conan Doyle’s participation in releasing Slater would have been more a pamphlet than a book, the text is liberally padded with small biographies of Slater, Conan Doyle, and Joseph Bell, as well as chapters detailing the types of reasoning used for investigation, and previous cases where Conan Doyle’s assistance prevailed in either convicting the right man, or releasing the one wrongly convicted. A small detour towards the end is made into Conan Doyle’s foray into the paranormal, and the author tried to tie it into the book by speculating that it might have negated his influence with the Scottish authorities, a justification that I don’t think she really established.

I feel like this book is one packs enough into a seemingly straightforward narrative as to offer almost endless avenues for discussions covering a wide variety of topics. As I said at the start, I learned a lot (granted I wasn’t starting from a very learned position); I found the narrative easy to read and much more engrossing than I originally expected and I came away with an even deeper respect for Conan Doyle than I started with. ( )
1 rösta murderbydeath | Feb 5, 2022 |
A nonfiction account of the work of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in attempting to prove the innocence of convicted murderer Oscar Slater in the first decade of the 20th Century. A German Jew, Slater was the victim of notorious Victorian England prejudice, and, years after his incarceration for the crime, Conan Doyle was approached to re-examine the facts in the case and attempt to have Slater’s conviction overturned. The book is a testimony to the incredible man that Conan Doyle was. He was brilliant and generous to a fault (as his help for Slater eventually proved). I listened to the audio version of the book with the marvelous narrator Peter Forbes. I’ve listened to a dozen or so books in the last several months, and more often than not, the narrator has gotten in the way of the story as a distraction. Not so with Forbes. His ability to shift accents from British to Scottish to German to American is downright uncanny. The man is a master reader and actor. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and, as I said, it gave me a newfound respect for a writer I already admired: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. ( )
  FormerEnglishTeacher | Oct 30, 2021 |
The dramatic title and the true crime billing do this book somewhat of an injustice. Margalit Fox isn't writing in the traditional true crime genre, not being particularly interested in solving the 1908 murder of the elderly Scottish spinster Marion Gilchrist. (Indeed, while a brutal crime, Gilchrist's murder is perhaps just as horrifying in its banality—were it not for Arthur Conan Doyle's later involvement, her name would long since be forgotten.)

Fox is far more interested in exploring what the subsequent trial of Gilchrist's alleged killer tells us about Edwardian Britain, which Fox presents as a transitional period between "the twilight of nineteenth-century gentility and the upheavals of twentieth-century modernity." Oscar Slater was convicted of Gilchrist's murder and sentenced to death (later commuted to life and hard labour) although it was patently obvious that Slater was innocent, the charges against him trumped up because he was a foreigner and a Jew. It would take 20 years and the intervention of Arthur Conan Doyle—best known as the creator of Sherlock Holmes—to secure Slater's release from prison.

Don't go into this expecting a page-turning procedural, but as an exploration of how prejudice leads to miscarriages of justice, Conan Doyle for the Defense is quite engaging. ( )
  siriaeve | Aug 2, 2020 |
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Fox, Margalitprimär författarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Forbes, PeterBerättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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The fictitious world, to which Sherlock Holmes belonged, expected of him what the real world of the day expected of its scientists: more light and more justice. As the creation of a doctor who had been soaked in the rationalist thought of the period, the Holmesian cycle offers us for the first time the spectacle of a hero triumphing again and again by means of logic and scientific method. And the hero's prowess is as marvellous as the power of science, which many people hoped would lead to a material and spiritual improvement of the human condition, and Conan Doyle first among them.
- Pierre Nordon, Conan Doyle: A Biography, 1966
For seventeen years I have met nobody here who knew me outside. Quite naturally I often feel I must shout "Forsaken, forsaken, forsaken I am as the stones of the street."
-Oscar Slater, in a letter to his sister, 1926
I am the last and highest court of appeal in detection.
--Sherlock Holmes, The Sign of the Four, 1890
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For D. J. R. Bruckner, rationalist, humanist, stylist, in memoriam
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It was one of the most notorious murders of its age.
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Biography & Autobiography. Law. True Crime. Nonfiction. HTML:??A wonderfully vivid portrait of the man behind Sherlock Holmes . . . Like all the best historical true crime books, it??s about so much more than crime.???Tana French, author of In the Woods
 
A sensational Edwardian murder. A scandalous wrongful conviction. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to the rescue??a true story.    
After a wealthy woman was brutally murdered in her Glasgow home in 1908, the police found a convenient suspect in Oscar Slater, an immigrant Jewish cardsharp. Though he was known to be innocent, Slater was tried, convicted, and consigned to life at hard labor. Outraged by this injustice, Arthur Conan Doyle, already world renowned as the creator of Sherlock Holmes, used the methods of his most famous character to reinvestigate the case, ultimately winning Slater??s freedom.
With ??an eye for the telling detail, a forensic sense of evidence and a relish for research? (The Wall Street Journal), Margalit Fox immerses readers in the science of Edwardian crime detection and illuminates a watershed moment in its history, when reflexive prejudice began to be replaced by reason and the scientific method.
Praise for Conan Doyle for the Defense
??Artful and compelling . . . [Fox??s] narrative momentum never flags. . . . Conan Doyle for the Defense will captivate almost any reader while being pure catnip for the devotee of true-crime writing.???The Washington Post
??Developed with brio . . . [Fox] is excellent in linking the 19th-century creation of policing and detection with the development of both detective fiction and the science of forensics??ballistics, fingerprints, toxicology and serology??as well as the quasi science of ??criminal anthropology.?????The New York Times Book Review
??[Fox] has an eye for the telling detail, a forensic sense of evidence and a relish for research.???The Wall Street Journal

??Gripping . . . The book works on two levels, much like a good Holmes case. First, it is a fluid story of a crime. . . . Second, and more pertinently, it is a deeper story of how prejudice against a class of people, the covering up of sloppy police work and a poisonous political atmosphere can doom an innocent. We should all heed Holmes??s salutary lesson:

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