Brendan’s Alternate Tagline for Conan Doyle for the Defense:

Need to get out of jail? Just get the most famous detective writer ever!

Quick synopsis:

The story of how Arthur Conan Doyle (who wrote Sherlock Holmes) helped secure the release of wrongly convicted Oscar Slater.

Fun Fact Non-History People Will Like:

After Pearl Harbor, Life magazine actually printed a handy guide for being able to tell Japanese people from Chinese people. Spoiler alert: It was as racist as you would think!

Fun Fact for History Nerds:

Doyle was very into spiritualism, and it tarnished his reputation a bit later in life. Like most adherents in these days, the hoaxes were abundant.

My Take on Conan Doyle for the Defense:

I have read about some sketchy murder convictions before but this one is up there in ridiculousness. Marion Gilchrist was beaten to death in her home during a robbery in 1908 Glasgow. There were two eyewitnesses at the very least. The killer clearly had some sort of inside knowledge. There was a question of inheritances. Obviously, we know where this is going!

That’s right, blame a Jewish immigrant who had no real connection to any of this! Enter Oscar Slater who would somehow end up going to jail. Now, to be fair, Oscar Slater was not an outstanding member of society. However, his ability to commit the murder he was convicted of is dodgy at best.

Arthur Conan Doyle was a huge justice advocate and because he created Sherlock Holmes, people listened. Well, eventually. He doesn’t storm into a court room and win the case like on Law & Order, but he does get his man.

Margalit Fox tells a great story that I had never heard before. If you love historical true crime, then this one is a must.


A very fun read for anyone. Buy it here!

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Conan Doyle for the Defense by Margalit Fox
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