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Born in Edinburgh to Irish parents, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was inspired by the heroic and most likely embellished tales of his adventuresome Irish forefathers which his mother told him as a child. He went on to write his first novel in 1882, though it was lost in the mail and remains missing today, delaying the first publication of one of his novels until the detective story "A Study in Scarlet" appeared in 1887, three years after he had written it for a paltry 25-pound advance. He attended the University of Edinburgh and, in 1885, became a medical doctor. That same year, he married his first wife, Louise Hawkins, who died in 1906 after giving birth to a son and daughter. Doyle remarried a year later to family friend Jean Leckie, with whom he had two more sons and a daughter. In 1891, Doyle introduced the character for whom he is best known in "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes", bringing him international notoriety and assuring his place as one of the greatest mystery writers of all time. His historical writings include "The Great Boer War", which he wrote in 1900 after serving time in Africa as a medical officer. Following his eldest son's death soon after World War I, Doyle embraced spirituality with a fervor that drove him to write over 30 books on the subject, and to predict, as Houdini did, that he would make contact with the living world after his death. So far, however, the only evidence of Doyle from beyond the grave can be seen in the continued popularity of his classic novels of careful deduction and nail-biting suspense.