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The Ardlamont Mystery
The Ardlamont Mystery

The Ardlamont Mystery

The Real-Life Story Behind the Creation of Sherlock Holmes


256 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Cloth

Cloth, $24.95 (CA $33.95) (US $24.95)

Publication Date: May 2019

ISBN 9781782438458

Rights: US & CA

Michael O'Mara Books (May 2019)
Michael O'Mara

Price: $24.95


The real-life mystery featuring the two men—Joseph Bell and Henry Littlejohn—who inspired the creation of Sherlock Holmes

December 1893. Arthur Conan Doyle shocks his legions of fans by killing off the world's favorite fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes. Meanwhile, in Scotland, a sensational real-life murder trial is playing out. Alfred Monson, a scion of the aristocracy, is charged with killing a young army lieutenant, Cecil Hambrough, on the sprawling Ardlamont estate. The worlds of crime fiction and crime fact are about to collide spectacularly. Among the key prosecution witnesses were two esteemed Edinburgh doctors, Joseph Bell and Henry Littlejohn. Bell—Doyle's tutor when the author studied medicine in the 1870s—had recently been unmasked as the inspiration behind the creation of Sherlock Holmes. But what the public did not know was that Bell and Littlejohn—a pioneer in the emerging field of forensic detection—had actually been investigating crimes together for more than 20 years. Littlejohn deserves equal billing as the prototype of Baker Street's most famous resident. This book re-examines the evidence of the case that gripped Victorian Britain, putting forward his own theory as to why Cecil Hambrough was murdered. Outlining the key roles of the men whose powers of deduction and detection had so inspired Doyle, Smith explores the real-world origins of Sherlock Holmes through the prism of a mystery as engrossing as any case the Great Detective ever tackled. 


"Daniel Smith's book provides an enthralling real-life murder mystery that also sheds new light on the creation of fiction's most famous detective." —Daily Mail

"Fascinating and expertly written: a true murder story that brings the real background of Sherlock Holmes and his creator strikingly to life." —Andrew Lycett, author, Conan Doyle: The Man Who Created Sherlock Holmes

"The fictional Sherlock Holmes was born in a world of Victorian crime and mysteries. The sensational Ardlamont murder trial in 1893 was one of those inspirations... Daniel Smith does a wonderful job [of] recreating the trial in all its twists and complexities, a case worthy of Sherlock himself." —Paul French, winner of the Edgar and Dagger awards for true crime writing and author of City of Devils: A Shanghai Noir and Midnight in Peking

"Sheer delight. A Victorian murder mystery to rival the best of Conan Doyle." —Classic Crime critic, Daily Mail

"A gripping read." —The Sherlock Holmes Journal

Author Biography

Daniel Smith is the author of How to Think Like Einstein, How to Think Like Mandela, and How to Think Like Steve Jobs. He is also a long-time contributor to The Statesman's Yearbook.