|The Edalji Five and the Shadow of Sherlock Holmes|
A WATCHING WORLD
From Conan Doyle’s investigation in the role of Sherlock Holmes to Julian Barnes’s Arthur and George
Whatever the wider significance of the lives of the Edalji five, there is no escape from the tale of the dying pit-pony. Was George guilty? Was Michael Harley right? Conan Doyle is famous for having been taken in by spiritualists and by faked photographs of fairies. Was he taken in by George Edalji?
Julian Barnes’s novel Arthur and George has pitched the George Edalji case back into the world limelight. His novel was the bookies’ favourite for the Man Booker Prize in 2005 but was pipped at the post. The premise of the book is that George Edalji was innocent and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was right. How true is the novel to the historical record? Roger Oldfield provides an insider's critique of Julian Barnes's version of the George Edalji case and its background.
The Edalji family photograph of c.1892 is the only one we have showing Maud Edalji, George’s sister. Yet she is a key to the story. She was the family’s last surviving member, the keeper of its archive and its memories. What was her verdict on all its experiences?
|Copyright © Roger Oldfield 2013|