Round the Red Lamp
I know Conan Doyle almost entirely from Sherlock Holmes and Professor Challenger. I like those stories a lot, and I downloaded some other books to try when I had a free moment.
Round the Red Lamp is a collection of loosely medical themed stories – mostly about doctors in one way or another. One or two falls in science fiction or adventure category, but most are straightforward fiction.
I was surprised by how good these stories are. Sherlock Holmes is fun, but the stories are usually more clever than touching. The closest we usually get to emotion there is perhaps Irene Adler in “A Scandal in Bohemia”, or Dr. Watson’s expostulations (and background romance). Here, we have something completely different. While I like the more fantastic stories toward the end of the book, it’s the stories that open the book that really hit home. They’re small, but intensely moving. After reading this set, it’s clear that I have not given Conan Doyle enough credit for writing skill. While not all of the stories here are excellent, they’re all good, and mostly very good. I’ll definitely be looking for more of his non-adventure work.
Overall, a surprising and very welcome look at Conan Doyle’s more literary side. If you’re a fan, pick this up. If you’re just looking for touching stories, pick this up. If you like stories about doctors, pick this up. It’s free, and you won’t be sorry. Strongly recommended.