A Life Of Fiction LXVI

For those of you new to this WordPress site, this site is about me and my writing – and a little about my role-playing, as well. It gives readers a chance to sample my work before purchasing it on the Kindle store; and gives me the chance to say a little about the genesis of each novel, or about the process of writing in general.


Don’t Worry, I Am On Medication: All of my friends will say that I am a somewhat pedantic person. I do not consider this to be an insult, but a compliment. I like things to be correct, and it annoys me when things are needlessly incorrect.

One thing which has really annoyed me, of late, is the fact that the charity shops and bookshops where I live have been putting the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle under the letter D. They obviously think that Conan Doyle’s surname is Doyle. But it is not.

It was Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle who adopted the Conan as part of his surname, the name originally being a given name. But he did not hyphenate his double-barrelled surname. So his surname was Conan Doyle; and the descendants who continue the patrilineal name, from Denis and Adrian Conan Doyle onwards, have had the same surname.

I go into the stores and I see that they have put Doyle under D. I am a great fan of Conan Doyle, but I do not yet own all of the Conan Doyle books which I want (I am missing The Valley Of Fear and the later Professor Challenger stories). So I’m on the lookout for cheap copies of the missing books. And that means it annoys me when authors whose books I am looking for are in the wrong section. I think that people who run bookstores should know things like the names of the authors. Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t think that even the people who run charity bookshops should be semi-literate poltroons.

I don’t confront any of the staff in the store. I’m not the sort of person to cause some sort of argument. In fact, I’m the sort of person who would not say boo to a church mouse. So I don’t argue with these people, even though, inside, I am burning with pedantic fury. What I do, instead, is to wait until the members of staff have become engaged in some other matter, and are no longer paying any attention to me. Then I take the books – The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, A Study In Scarlet – or whatever and transfer them from D to C.

Unfortunately for me that is not the end of the affair. When I go back in the place I invariably discover that some fool has put the books back under D. I would have thought the fact the books have been put between Wilkie Collins and James Fenimore Cooper might have caused some neurons to jump inside the brain, and for them to think ‘Ah, Conan Doyle’. But no. It does not seem that the idea that they have put the author who created the most filmed fictional character of all time under the wrong letter has ever occurred to them.

If the books said Doyle on the cover rather than Conan Doyle I could forgive their mistake. But a lot of these books have Conan Doyle on the spine, some of them being in the Wordsworth series of paperbacks. Do they think that Conan is a middle name? I’m sorry, but we do not see books published under the names George Wells, or Louis Stevenson, or May Alcott. Can they not realise that they are putting the book under the wrong letter? What is the point of having some books arranged alphabetically, and others not?

I wait, once more, until I am not being observed, as I desire no confrontation, and then I restore the books to their proper place. And I do that in each place where they have got it wrong. I’m sorry, but it bothers me.

Don’t worry. As I said, I am on medication.


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