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SUNDAY MORNING SEMINAR FEATURING AUTHOR MARGALIT FOX
February 23, 2020 @ 10:00 am - 11:30 am
Co-Sponsored by Brotherhood and Adult Education
9:00am Breakfast ($5) and 10:00am Presentation
Sunday, February 23, 2020
Speakers: Margalit Fox
Conan Doyle for the Defense: The True Story of a Sensational British Murder, a Quest for Justice, and the World’s Most Famous Detective Writer
In 1893, the world was shocked to learn of the death of one of its heroes: Detective Sherlock Holmes had fallen off of a cliff while battling his arch nemesis, Professor Moriarty. Holmes’s creator, Arthur Conan Doyle, had tired of the character, and killed him off in the story “The Final Problem.” His death was met with such widespread backlash, however, that Doyle revived him. The public’s thirst to read about the brilliant British detective and his adventures has barely waned since. In this captivating tale, Fox traces the development of Doyle’s career — including the fact that once his literary creation became so famous, requests flooded in for him to solve actual mysteries — through his efforts on behalf of Slater. In a particularly cinematic instance, a letter smuggled out of prison in a fake tooth seals Slater’s freedom. Fox’s writing, clearly honed by her years writing obituaries, effortlessly balances expertly-researched historical and archival data with the pathos and emotional nuance of any great drama. Like a classic Holmes yarn, Conan Doyle for the Defense is full of shady underworld characters, thievery, inept police officers, and a mystery whose historical setting belies its deep relevance to our own era.
A retired senior writer at The New York Times, Margalit Fox is considered one the foremost explanatory writers and literary stylists in American journalism. As a longtime member of the newspaper’s celebrated Obituary News Department, she has written the front-page public sendoffs of some of the leading cultural figures of our age. (Conan Doyle for the Defense is in many ways a fond belated obituary — for the long-overlooked Oscar Slater, an immigrant Everyman treated inexcusably by history.) Fox’s previous book, The Riddle of the Labyrinth, won the William Saroyan Prize for International Writing. She lives in Manhattan with her husband, the writer and critic George Robinson.