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Arthur & George by Julian Barnes
Arthur & George is Julian Barnes' fictionalized account of the events surrounding two historical figures, Arthur Conan Doyle and George Edalji. The men were polar opposites; Doyle was witty, athletic, outgoing, and a natural storyteller, while Edalji was a quiet, unassuming, and pragmatic solicitor. Someone was mutilating farm animals in a village in Staffordshire, and the police decided Edalji was their man. This was partly due to Edalji being half-Indian. He was convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison. When the animal killings continued, public outcry won him an early release after three years. Edalji wanted exoneration, though, and he wrote to Doyle asking for his help in clearing his name. Getting the chance to play Sherlock Holmes in real life, Doyle eagerly accepted the task. Julian Barnes captures not just the essence of these two men, but also the Edwardian era of the time. Arthur & George has received positive reviews with the Sunday Times saying, "Barnes's suave, elegant prose - alive here with precision, irony and humaneness - has never been used better than in this extraordinary true-life tale, which is as terrifically told as any by its hero Conan Doyle himself."