Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle (1859-1930)
"I should dearly love that the world should be ever so little better for my presence. Even on this small stage we have our two sides, and something might be done by throwing all one's weight on the scale of breadth, tolerance, charity, temperance, peace, and kindliness to man and beast. We can't all strike very big blows, and even the little ones count for something."The creator of Sherlock Holmes was born in Edinburgh, Scotland to Irish Catholic parents. As a teenager, he turned away from Christianity and became an agnostic. He studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh from 1876-81, and later set up practice as an opthalmologist. His practice did not prove very lucrative, however, so he used his spare time to write.
Besides his Holmesian stories, he wrote many other books, including adventure stories, historical novels, and many short stories, some of which could even be considered to fall into my own favorite sub-genre: horror. An especially good--and interesting--short is The Horror of the Heights, written in the nascent days of flight. It's a nice piece of speculative horror about what might be encountered in the sky when man flew too high.
In the early 1900s several family members close to him died, and he began resorting to spiritualism for comfort.
He died of a heart attack in 1930.