Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Poisonous Plants
Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories from 1887 to 1927 open a window to the history of medicine and empire.
Before Sir Arthur Conan Doyle became a writer, he was a doctor. In medical school he took “practical botany” and was fascinated by poisonous plants.
While Doyle was writing between 1887 and 1927, Britain became the largest empire in history with newfound access to the planet’s most potent plants. The Sherlock Holmes stories reveal the fascination and anxieties provoked by moving poisonous plants around the world.