The plot of the novel is based very loosely on the real-life activities of the Molly Maguires and, particularly, of Pinkerton agent James McParland. The novel is divided into two parts: in the first, Holmes investigates an apparent murder and discovers that the body belongs to another man; and in the second, the story of the man originally thought to have been the victim is told.
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Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle KStJ, DL (22 May 1859 – 7 July 1930) was an Irish-Scots writer and physician, most noted for creating the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes and writing stories about him which are generally considered milestones in the field of crime fiction. Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle was born on 22 May 1859 at 11 Picardy Place, Edinburgh, Scotland. His father, Charles Altamont Doyle, was English, of Irish Catholic descent, and his mother, Mary (née Foley), was Irish Catholic. His parents married in 1855. In 1864 the family dispersed due to Charles's growing alcoholism and the children were temporarily housed across Edinburgh. In 1867, the family came together again and lived in squalid tenement flats at 3 Sciennes Place. Doyle's father died in 1893, in the Crichton Royal, Dumfries, after many years of psychiatric illness. Supported by wealthy uncles, Doyle was sent to the Jesuit preparatory school Hodder Place, Stonyhurst, at the age of nine (1868–70). He then went on to Stonyhurst College until 1875. From 1875 to 1876, he was educated at the Jesuit school Stella Matutina in Feldkirch, Austria. He later rejected the Catholic faith and become an agnostic. He also later became a spiritualist mystic. He is also known for writing the fictional adventures of a second character he invented, Professor Challenger, and for popularising the mystery of the Mary Celeste. He was a prolific writer whose other works include fantasy and science fiction stories, plays, romances, poetry, non-fiction and historical novels.
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