The Dark Side of Doyle: A Review of Tales of Terror and Mystery by Arthur Conan Doyle
Tales of Terror and Mystery by Arthur Conan Doyle
Arthur Conan Doyle is best known for creating the iconic detective Sherlock Holmes and his loyal companion Dr. Watson. However, Doyle was not only a master of mystery and deduction, but also of terror and mystery. He wrote many short stories that explored the dark and supernatural aspects of human nature and the world.
One of his most famous collections of horror and suspense stories is Tales of Terror and Mystery, which was published in 1922. The book contains 12 stories that range from ghost stories to adventure stories, from psychological thrillers to historical fiction. Some of the stories are based on real events or legends, while others are purely fictional. All of them, however, are guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat and make you wonder what lurks in the shadows.
In this article, we’ll review some of the stories and themes in Tales of Terror and Mystery by Arthur Conan Doyle and why they are still relevant and thrilling today. We’ll also discuss some of the literary techniques and devices that Doyle used to create his tales of terror and mystery.
The Horror Stories
The first six stories in Tales of Terror and Mystery by Arthur Conan Doyle are classified as horror stories. These are:
- The Horror of the Heights: A pilot discovers a terrifying secret in the upper atmosphere
- The Leather Funnel: A man experiences the horrors of a medieval torture device through a dream
- The New Catacomb: A jealous archaeologist lures his rival into a deadly trap in an ancient Roman catacomb
- The Case of Lady Sannox: A surgeon gets his revenge on his unfaithful wife and her lover in a gruesome way
- The Terror of Blue John Gap: A naturalist investigates a mysterious creature that lives in a cavern
- The Brazilian Cat: A man is trapped in a room with a giant man-eating cat
These stories showcase Doyle’s ability to create suspense and horror by using various elements, such as:
- Setting: Doyle uses different settings to create different moods and atmospheres. For example, he uses the high altitude, the cold, and the isolation to create a sense of dread in The Horror of the Heights. He uses the dark, damp, and claustrophobic catacomb to create a sense of fear in The New Catacomb. He uses the remote, rural, and mysterious cavern to create a sense of curiosity and danger in The Terror of Blue John Gap.
- Characters: Doyle creates realistic and relatable characters that draw the reader into their stories. He also creates villains that are either human or animal, but always evil and ruthless. For example, he creates a sympathetic protagonist in The Horror of the Heights, who is adventurous and curious, but also naive and reckless. He creates a cunning antagonist in The New Catacomb, who is smart and knowledgeable, but also jealous and vengeful. He creates a monstrous antagonist in The Brazilian Cat, who is powerful and savage, but also cunning and patient.
- Plot: Doyle creates plots that are simple but effective, often involving twists and surprises. He also uses foreshadowing, clues, and hints to build up tension and anticipation. For example, he foreshadows the fate of the pilot in The Horror of the Heights by mentioning his missing notebook and his strange behavior before his flight. He hints at the trap in The New Catacomb by mentioning the missing key and the strange smell in the catacomb. He reveals the twist in The Case of Lady Sannox by showing the surgeon’s smile and the lady’s scream at the end.
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The Mystery Stories
The next six stories in Tales of Terror and Mystery by Arthur Conan Doyle are classified as mystery stories. These are:
- The Lost Special: A train disappears without a trace
- The Beetle-Hunter: A man is hired to catch a rare beetle for a mysterious client
- The Man with the Watches: A man is found dead with six watches in his pocket
- The Japanned Box: A man hears strange noises from his neighbor’s room
- The Black Doctor: A black doctor is accused of murdering his white rival
- The Jew’s Breastplate: A jeweler is robbed of a valuable breastplate
These stories showcase Doyle’s ability to create mystery and intrigue by using various elements, such as:
- Setting: Doyle uses different settings to create different challenges and opportunities for his characters. For example, he uses the railway system, the telegraph network, and the newspaper industry to create a complex puzzle in The Lost Special. He uses the natural history museum, the zoo, and the countryside to create a bizarre adventure in The Beetle-Hunter. He uses the hotel, the pawnshop, and the theater to create a curious case in The Man with the Watches.
- Characters: Doyle creates diverse and interesting characters that have different motives and backgrounds. He also creates detectives that are either professional or amateur, but always clever and observant. For example, he creates a mysterious villain in The Lost Special, who is a political fugitive with a genius plan. He creates a quirky hero in The Beetle-Hunter, who is a naturalist with a sense of humor. He creates a professional detective in The Man with the Watches, who is a Scotland Yard inspector with a keen eye.
- Plot: Doyle creates plots that are complex but logical, often involving clues and deductions. He also uses red herrings, false leads, and coincidences to mislead and surprise the reader. For example, he misleads the reader in The Lost Special by suggesting that the train was destroyed by an explosion or a landslide. He surprises the reader in The Beetle-Hunter by revealing that the beetle was actually a clue to a murder. He coincides the reader in The Man with the Watches by showing that the watches were actually gifts from a grateful benefactor.
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Why You Should Read Tales of Terror and Mystery by Arthur Conan Doyle
There are many reasons why you should read Tales of Terror and Mystery by Arthur Conan Doyle. Here are some of them:
- You’ll enjoy Doyle’s brilliant writing style that combines horror and mystery with humor and wit
- You’ll appreciate Doyle’s diverse and imaginative stories that cover different genres and themes
- You’ll learn about Doyle’s historical and cultural influences that shaped his stories and characters
- You’ll challenge your mind and imagination by trying to solve these tales of terror and mystery yourself or with your friends
- You’ll have fun reading these stories that will entertain you, scare you, and surprise you
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Here are some frequently asked questions about Tales of Terror and Mystery by Arthur Conan Doyle:
Q: Where can I find Tales of Terror and Mystery by Arthur Conan Doyle? A: You can find Tales of Terror and Mystery by Arthur Conan Doyle online or in your local library. The book is in the public domain, so you can read it for free on websites like Project Gutenberg or Internet Archive.
Q: Is Tales of Terror and Mystery by Arthur Conan Doyle suitable for children? A: Tales of Terror and Mystery by Arthur Conan Doyle is suitable for older children and teenagers who have an interest in horror and mystery. However, some of the stories are quite violent and graphic, such as The Case of Lady Sannox or The Brazilian Cat. Therefore, parental guidance is advised for younger or sensitive readers.
Q: Is Tales of Terror and Mystery by Arthur Conan Doyle accurate? A: Tales of Terror and Mystery by Arthur Conan Doyle is based on some historical facts and legends, but it is not a factual or realistic account. Doyle often exaggerates or invents details to make his stories more thrilling and dramatic. He also mixes fiction with reality to create his own version of history and mythology. Therefore, you should not take everything he says as truth, but rather as a creative expression of his imagination.
Tales of Terror and Mystery by Arthur Conan Doyle is an amazing book that will appeal to anyone who loves horror and mystery. It contains 12 stories that showcase Doyle’s talent as a writer, storyteller, and inventor. It also reflects Doyle’s interests and influences as a person, scholar, and artist. If you’re looking for a book that will keep you hooked, intrigued, and amazed, you should definitely read Tales of Terror and Mystery by Arthur Conan Doyle. You might even discover some secrets and mysteries that you never knew before!
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