A daily note on some event in the history of mystery fiction.
Wednesday, August 30, 2017
8/30/1889 A dinner party that made literary history
August 30, 1889. A major literary event happened on this night,
which had great import for the mystery field. You see, when Arthur
Conan Doyle introduced Sherlock Holmes to the world in A Study in Scarlet, the world couldn't have cared less. But when he wrote a historical novel called Micah Clarke it became a best-seller. Joseph M. Stoddard, the publisher of Lippincott's Magazine, had published Study in Scarlet in America. He was visiting England that summer, and noted the popularity of Clarke. So he invited Doyle to a dinner at the Langhorn Hotel and suggested he give Holmes another shot. This led to The Sign of Four,
and eventually to the short stories that made Holmes a household
word. Oh, Stoddard invited another writer to the event, one who became immediate friends with Doyle - a very unlikely pair. Stoddard suggested
that other man write something for the magazine as well. So Oscar Wilde produced The Portrait of Dorian Gray.