Ok, at long last, I'm finally getting serious about this biography.
Having just finished the Introduction, I am pleased to say I haven't been put off yet by anything the author has stated.
(Note: I have a bit of a history with biographies where the author shows his/her ignorance of the subject in the introductory chapter.)
So far, so good.
And just to give us a flavour of what I am expecting from the biography (I have high hopes), the author has not dwelt on the marvellous creation that is Holmes as the sole focus of the biography.
"His looks were deceiving. Behind the placid, sleepy-eyed demeanor was a man of strong convictions, some of them absurd, all of them deeply felt.
Conan Doyle’s life had been a series of hard-fought crusades, of which spiritualism was only the latest. In 1890, he warned against an ill-tested cure for tuberculosis. In 1902, he defended the British government against charges of misconduct in the Boer War. In 1906, he championed the cause of divorce law reform. In 1909, he spoke out against atrocities in the Congo. In 1910, he took up the case of Oscar Slater, a man falsely accused of murder. In 1914, he warned against the potentially devastating effects of a submarine blockade. In each case Conan Doyle fought his corner with skill and resourcefulness, marshaling whatever advantages could be wrought from his fame and natural eloquence.
Many of his causes were unpopular, but Conan Doyle’s private sense of honor mattered more to him than public opinion. “He seemed to us,” his daughter Jean once wrote, “to be the very personification of the chivalry of the stories of King Arthur’s Round Table.”"