Anti-Semitism put Oscar Slater in jail. The author of Sherlock Holmes got him out.

Photo: Lambert/Archive Photos/Getty

It was one of the most notorious murders of its age. Galvanizing early 20th-century Britain and, before long, the world, it involved a patrician victim, stolen diamonds, a transatlantic manhunt, and a cunning maidservant who knew far more than she could ever be persuaded to tell. It was, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote in 1912, “as brutal and callous a crime as has ever been recorded in those black annals in which the criminologist finds the materials for his study.”

But for all its dark drama, and for all the thousands of words Conan Doyle would write about it, his…

Margalit Fox

Margalit Fox spent 24 years at The New York Times, retiring in June 2018 as a senior writer. She is the author of three acclaimed narrative nonfiction books.

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