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Conan Doyle for the Defense

Conan Doyle for the Defense by Margalit Fox
Jun 26, 2018 | 352 Pages
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    Jun 26, 2018 | 352 Pages

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    Jun 26, 2018 | 352 Pages

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“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: rationally follow the facts to find the truth.”Time

“Splendid . . . The ingredients are too good to pass up: a famous detective novelist actually playing detective, a man serving time for a murder he did not commit, and a criminal justice system slowly, and reluctantly, reckoning with the advent of forensic science.”—Sarah Weinman, The New Republic


“Expertly constructed, this work will appeal to Conan Doyle fans and is ideal for all true crime collections.”Library Journal (starred review)

“[Margalit] Fox . . . does her own detective work in unpicking the opposing personalities and careers of her protagonists. . . . Like a good murder mystery, Conan Doyle for the Defense is a fast-paced read that twists and turns with the panache of a Holmes short story.”The Times

“A brisk account of the celebrated novelist’s campaign to overturn a controversial murder conviction . . . [Fox’s] extensive research into turn-of-the-century Scotland results in enlightening chapters about the era’s tensions, such as the battle between ancient bigotries and a surging faith in scientific inquiry.”Star Tribune 

“Compelling, lucid and indignant. It reminds one that the presumption of innocence is a legal principle, and that it is better that a guilty man goes free than an innocent one is convicted.”The Scotsman 

“Fox deftly deconstructs this case with page-turning reportage and a studious analysis of the setting—notably the anti-Semitism that helped lead to the false conviction. Conan Doyle is presented in all his intellectual glory, almost as impressive as his world-famous character. Holmesians will appreciate reading about both the development of forensic science and their favorite author as a real-life person managing life-and-death stakes.”British Heritage Travel 

“Fox shows the new system of forensic science, as typified by Doyle’s great creation Sherlock Holmes. . . . She wants us to see that the racialisation of crime is nothing new: bad science and economic insecurity have long been responsible for creating ‘out groups’ on whom we dump our worst terrors.”The Guardian

“Fox expertly frames the case of Oscar Slater as another example of scapegoating. . . . If you are a Holmes devotee, you will love watching his creator take apart a flimsy criminal case through reason and meticulous examination of the evidence.”The Seattle Times

“Fox’s engrossing book brings his case back to vivid life and highlights the part played in it by the creator of the world’s most famous detective.”The Daily Mail

“Absorbing . . . From the get-go, Fox demonstrates her eye for the telling detail and her innate sense of pacing and suspense. . . . At a time when bias can and does still land innocents in jail, the relevance of the Slater case remains all too clear.”The Jewish Week

“Riveting.”The National Book Review

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