Where is Sherlock Holmes when you need him?

In 1884, three years before Holmes would make his debut, his creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle finished his very first novel. When he wasn’t treating patients, the British physician was experimenting with writing short stories. But his dream was to make a name for himself in the literary world and short-form writing wasn’t cutting it.

The Narrative of John Smith was Doyle’s first attempt at penning a longer tale and, at least according to the man himself, it was good. “Of course it was the best thing I ever wrote,” he later proclaimed. He hoped the literary establishment would agree. In the time-honored tradition of aspiring writers the world over, he packaged the sole copy of his manuscript up and shipped it off to a potential publisher.