I have just read again the ‘Afterword’ in Andrew Lycett’s
‘Conan Doyle: The Man Who Created Sherlock Holmes’.
The restrictions placed by the literary estate have become
almost legendary, I know, but I was surprised by the restrictions
placed on this particular biographer. A few examples stood out:
“But the Conan Doyle estate was not satisfied with the actual words
(which I supplied with the sources). Foley asked me for the contexts
in which I wanted to use them.”
“Oddly I was not allowed to use certain copyright material which had been
published elsewhere, including in previous biographies.
As a result I had to spend further time deleting or paraphrasing quotations
which I had painstakingly assembled in my text.”
Lycett has managed to write a good book despite having to deal with these
and similar obstacles.