Essay: The Game Is Still Afoot

The truth is more unlikely than the tales. To beguile his off-hours, a young British physician invents a new kind of detective, a "thinking machine" who reconstructs a crime from minutiae much as a paleontologist builds a dinosaur from fossilized toes. The sleuth is accompanied by a general practitioner who respectfully annotates each case. Almost overnight the pair rise from obscurity to international renown. In an attempt to get on with "serious" works about history and spiritualism, the author decides to murder his invention by dropping him from a precipice. But the detective refuses to die. By public demand he is...