DOYLE, Arthur Conan. Autograph manuscript of the Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of Black Peter," signed ("A. Conan Doyle") and dated ("Undershaw, July 26, 1903"), published in Collier's 26 February 1904, and in The Strand Magazine, March 1904; and collected in The Return of Sherlock Holmes, New York and London, 1905.
Folio, 23 pages 12 5/8 x 8 in. (324 x 210 mm), written in dark ink on one side only of 23 leaves good quality ruled paper, fastened with a brass clip at top left-hand corner, with penciled note, "COS. 8400 words." Boldly titled at head of the first page "The Return of Sherlock Holmes," "VI," "The Adventure of Black Peter." WITH SCATTERED AUTHORIAL CORRECTIONS AND REVISIONS in ink and pencil. Laid in a protective case of brown buckram, upper cover gilt-lettered "The original manuscript of 'The Adventure of Black Peter' [by] Arthur Conan Doyle, Ex Libris Robert F. Collier."
[With:] Doyle, Arthur Conan. Autograph letter signed ("Arthur Conan Doyle,") presumably to Peter F. Collier (1849-1909), founder and publisher of Collier's Weekly magazine; Windlesham, Sussex, December 1908. 1 p., 12mo, small paperclip stain to top edge. Inscribed "To Mr. Collier with best Xmas wishes, December 1908 from Arthur Conan Doyle."
MURDER BY HARPOON. Arthur Conan Doyle's original manuscript of a Sherlock Holmes case involving the gruesome murder by harpoon of Black Peter, a menacing former seaman, and the recovery of certain stolen securities. Holmes and Dr. Watson are visited by a police inspector, Stanley Hopkins, a great admirer of the famous detective, who requests Holmes's assistance in his investigation into the mysterious murder of Black Peter, a retired whaler and sealer. Holmes and Watson, of course, accept Hopkin's invitation with alacrity.
At age 20, Doyle signed on as ship's surgeon on the Hope, an arctic whaling vessel. In a recently published diary of that 1880 adventure, 'Dangerous Work': Diary of an Arctic Whaler (2012), Doyle vividly depicts the dangers encountered in the hunt for whales, the harrowing conditions and the harsh lives of the crews and officers alike. In addition to "The Adventure of Black Peter," these vivid maritime experiences were employed by Doyle in several stories: "The Captain of the Pole Star" (1883), "J. Habakuk Johnson's Statement" (1884) and a few non-fiction articles, including "The Glamour of the Artic" (1892) and "Life on a Greenland Whaler."
Provenance: Peter F. Collier, as documented in Doyle's presentation letter, December 1908 -- Robert J. Collier, son of the preceding, as documented by the gilt-lettering on the binding. -- With El Dieff -- Norman S. Nolan, M.D, B.S.I -- Diane Nolan.
References: DeWall, Ronald Burt. World Bibliography of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, no. 6; Richard Lanceylyn Green and Micheal Gibson, A Bibliography of A. Conan Doyle, A29.vi. http://www.bestofsherlock.com