Discover the story

Celebrating 150 years since the birth of Sherlock Holmes creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

An inspiration to many crime novelists, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, born on 22 May 1859, is best known for his famous creation Sherlock Holmes.

Rather than following the family tradition of pursuing an artistic career, Conan Doyle chose to study medicine at Edinburgh University where he wrote a short story called "The Mystery of Sasassa Valley". Whilst comparisons can be drawn to the writings of his favourite authors at that time, the story was nevertheless published in Chambers’s Journal where Thomas Hardy's first work had appeared.

In May 1891, whilst writing some of the early Sherlock Holmes short stories, Conan Doyle was struck by influenza and for a number of days it was a matter of life or death. Once his health had improved he decided to abandon his medical career in favour of his literary one.

The first collection of Sherlock Holmes short stories entitled "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" were published in 1892 and were greeted with huge acclaim. However, wishing to concentrate on writing historical novels, Conan Doyle wrote of Holmes’ death in "The Final Problem".

There was something of a public outcry and Conan Doyle finally relented some years later when he brought the famous detective back to life in "The Adventure of the Empty House". Conan Doyle wrote four more books; the last one, "The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes", was published in 1927, only three years before the author’s death. By now Conan Doyle - knighted in 1902 - was an internationally famous figure.

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of this highly influential writer, our unique collection of stamps tells the story of "Sherlock Holmes and the Curious Case of the Alderney Bull", which is a new mystery set in Alderney. Whilst the stamps provide an insight into this intriguing story, it can be followed in full - and you may even solve the mystery yourself - in our special mystery pack, which includes a stamp souvenir sheet containing a hidden image complete with lens.

Did you know?
Born Arthur Doyle, the famous author added his middle name "Conan" to his surname.

Did you know?
Conan Doyle worked backwards from the solution of a case to create his stories.    

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The mystery pack