The Game Remains Afoot for the Two NY Doctors Who Revealed Jack the Ripper's Identity in THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. DOYLE
Source: Daniel Friedman, MD; Eugene Friedman, MD
Garden City Park, NY: What do you get when you put together two Long Island doctors with Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes adventure, "The Sign of the Four"?
If the two doctors in question are son/father writing and research team Daniel Friedman, MD and Eugene Friedman, MD, then what you end up with is a remarkable new article in the prestigious Baker Street Journal, a publication dedicated to all things Sherlockian. Once again, the Friedmans have unearthed a startling amount of never-before-documented evidence that shows that Doyle was as clever and stealthful in his wholesale use of Stevenson's writing as he is when his Professor Moriarty is at work outwitting Sherlock Holmes.
In their article, titled "The Dead Man’s Chest: Treasure Island and 'The Sign of the Four'" and featured in Baker Street Journal s Autumn 2019 edition (Vol 69, No. 3), the Friedmans clearly demonstrate how Doyle was able to mix elements taken from a selection of Stevenson’s poems, short stories, and novels and then bring them together within the structure and language of "The Sign of the Four," one of Holmes's most enduring stories.
According to the Friedmans, "Not only are the plots of both stories eerily similar, but several of Doyle’s characters owe their names to prominent figures in Stevenson's Treasure Island. In addition, Doyle even went so far as to use the imagery employed by Stevenson in his poetic 'Dead Man’s Chest' song in the death scene with which 'The Sign of the Four' begins."
Pushing beyond fiction into real life, the Friedmans have further illustrated that Doyle's fascination with—and use of—Stevenson's writing went with him to his grave, literally. After all, according to the doctors, the epitaph inscribed on Doyle's own gravestone—"Steel True, Blade Straight"—comes directly from a Stevenson poem.
The choice of the setting and time of "The Sign of the Four" is of significance to the Friedmans' The Strange Case of Dr. Doyle, as its action occurs at the same moment and place where "Jack the Ripper" was wreaking havoc, London’s Whitechapel District. The Friedmans speculate that Doyle did all of this with a veiled purpose. As spelled out in their well-researched book The Strange Case of Dr. Doyle (now available in a new trade paperback edition, the title of which intentionally echoes Robert Louis Stevenson's immortal "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde"), the Friedmans offer proof that Doyle and "Jack" were one and the same. Just recently, television audiences throughout the world were won over by their evidence-based presentation on The Travel Channel's "America Unearthed," hosted by world-renowned forensic investigator Scott Wolter.
This week, on September 30, marks the precise date in 1888 when the mutilated bodies of "Ripper" victims Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes were discovered on the streets of London. The evidence presented by the Friedmans, although frightening, is stunning.
The Strange Case of Dr. Doyle ($17.95 USD, ISBN: 978-0-7570-0431-5) is available at Amazon, B&N.com, and wherever else books are sold.