The Edalji Five and the Shadow of Sherlock Holmes

Outrage: The Edalji Five and the Shadow of Sherlock Holmes by Roger Oldfield (Vanguard Press, ISBN: 9781843866015)
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Outrage by Roger Oldfield

Outrage: The Edalji Five and the Shadow of Sherlock Holmes

  • A great Midlands mystery: the brutal Great Wyrley animal outrages of 1903.
  • A national sensation: the trial and conviction of George Edalji, son of the local vicar, for the 8th of the outrages, a savage attack on a pit-pony.
  • A worldwide cause célèbre: Sherlock Holmes seemingly come to life when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle campaigned to prove George innocent.

The tale has been told many times, notably in Julian Barnes's Arthur and George short-listed for the Man Booker prize in 2005. Roger Oldfield however believes that the fame of Conan Doyle’s campaign has obscured the fascinating history of the Edalji family as whole: Shapurji, George’s father, a Bombay-born Parsi who served as an Anglican vicar for 42 years; Charlotte, George’s mother, descended from generations of English conquerors and looters of South Asia; and the three children, George, Horace and Maud, Anglo-Asians raised in an isolated English mining village. The lives of all five were haunted by the story of that dying pit-pony.

The author has an insider's perspective: he once taught in Great Wyrley and knew descendants of players in the Edalji family drama.

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Update, March 2015

What has ITV done to Arthur and George?

A historian's view of ITV's new drama series, March 2015.

Copyright © Roger Oldfield 2016