Conan Doyle on the Case

Throughout his life, Conan Doyle used his powers of detection and persuasion to help those in need.

The George Edalji Case

George Edalji, a solicitor of Indian heritage, was the victim of a long-running hate campaign. A series of night-time horse maimings occurred around the Great Wyrley vicarage where he lived. In 1903 Edalji himself was convicted of horse mutilation, and sentenced to seven years hard labour. Released after three years, he was barred from practicing as a solicitor.

Conan Doyle’s investigations proved that Edalji’s bad eyesight would have prevented him from performing the attacks. Edalji was pardoned and the case became a factor in the creation of the Criminal Court of Appeal in 1907.

The Oscar Slater Case

In 1909, Oscar Slater was convicted of murdering 83-year- old Marion Gilchrist in Glasgow. Noting numerous flaws in the conviction, Conan Doyle took up the case, writing The Trial of Oscar Slater, in 1912. He remained an ally of Slater, helping to pay costs for his appeal, which finally succeeded in 1928.

Side and front mugshot photographs of a man with a moustache

Booking photographs of George Edalji

Hand written letter

A brusque letter from Conan Doyle to an “uncourteous” police sergeant assigned to the Eldaji case.

Black and white photograph of a group of people

Arthur and Jean Conan Doyle with Dorando Pietri an Italian Olympic marathon runner who collapsed during the race and was helped across the finish line. Although Pietri finished first, he was denied the top prize. Conan Doyle led a campaign to raise money for Pietri to set up a bakery in his Italian home.