The Croydon Guardian reports that a book about the time Sir Arthur Conan Doyle spent in Norwood has scooped the top literary prize in the UK for Sherlock Holmes.
“The Norwood Author picked up the Tony and Freda Howlett Literary Award 2011.
The book explores Sir Arthur’s life between 1891 and 1894 when he lived in Norwood and wrote many of his most important Sherlock Holmes works, including the first two series of short stories.
It is written by leading Holmes historian Alistair Duncan, who also lives in south Norwood and has written many previous books on the author of Sherlock Holmes.
He said: “Conan Doyle was a man who always got involved in his local community regardless of what he was doing on the national stage. All the biographies that I had read failed to contain much, if anything, about his local activities when it came to the Norwood years. I couldn’t believe that there was nothing to discover and took it upon myself to go digging.”
Being a local resident helped Alistair with to tackle such a challenging book project, having admitted it was his most difficult to write.
He paid tribute to the work of Christine Corner and Chris Bennet at the Croydon Local Studies Library for their help in trawling through the archives in search of new gems of information about Sir Arthur’s life in south London. Conan Doyle was a resident of Norwood from 1891-1894 and many of his most important works were written there, including around a third of the Holmes stories. [like The Norwood Builder pictured left].
Alistair’s next book. ‘An Entirely New Country’ out in December covers the time Conan Doyle spent at Undershaw, the home he designed himself and where he wrote his most important works – the book also supports the campaign to Save Undershaw which faces destruction by developers.