Information about the author.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote in his autobiography: “I have had a life which, for variety and romance, could, I think, hardly be exceeded.” In the years since his death, Doyle has been almost uniquely identified with his most famous character, Sherlock Holmes, who remains among the world’s most identifiable figures, fictional or real. Doyle was much more than the author of the Holmes stories, but his very success with the series has clouded nearly every attempt to address his life. Martin Booth’s The Doctor and the Detective redresses the balance. It’s the…
The Industry of Souls is the story of Alexander Bayliss, a British citizen arrested in Leipzig by the KGB in the 1950s. He is erroneously charged with espionage and accused of being an enemy of the Soviet peoples, and after a brief and “utterly irrelevant” trial he is sentenced to twenty-five years of hard labor in the work camps of Siberia. Officially reported drowned after his car went off a bridge, Bayliss (later known as Shurik) is reduced to “a filed dossier in a locked cabinet in the vaults of the Lubyanka, a lost man, a non-person.” Eventually freed from the gulag in the 1970s, he has no reason to return to the West, a world he barely remembers and to which he no longer belongs—he has become Russian in everything but birth. He finds his way to the home of his best friend at the camp—Kirill. Taken in by Kirill’s childless daughter and her husband, he eventually becomes a local school master—beloved by everyone in the village. …[more]