Artie Conan Doyle and the Gravediggers' Club

Robert J. Harris

Available to buy

Quick Look

  • Popular author Robert J. Harris brings the young Conan Doyle to life
  • An ingenious detective story full of twists, turns and shocking reveals
  • This exciting new series will appeal to all amateur sleuths

Before the world meets Sherlock Homes, twelve-year-old Artie Conan Doyle has his own mysteries to solve. Will Artie survive encounters with graveyards, hounds and ghosts in foggy Edinburgh? Or will his first case be his last?

198 x 130 mm
Floris Books
Age Range:
From 8 to 12 years
192 pages
Publication date:
16 Feb 2017


One day Arthur Conan Doyle will create the greatest detective of all -- Sherlock Holmes. But right now Artie Conan Doyle is a twelve-year-old Edinburgh schoolboy with a mystery of his own to solve.

While sneaking out to explore Greyfriars Kirkyard by night, Artie and his best friend Ham spot a ghostly lady in grey and discover the footprints of a gigantic hound. Could the two mysteries be connected?

These strange clues lead them to a series of robberies carried out by the sinister Gravediggers' Club and soon they find themselves pitted against the villainous Colonel Braxton Dash.

Will Artie survive his encounters with graveyards and ghosts in the foggy streets of nineteenth century Edinburgh -- or will his first case be his last?

Robert J. Harris, author of The World's Gone Loki series and William Shakespeare and the Pirate's Fire, brings the young Conan Doyle to life in this ingenious detective story full of twists, turns and clever reveals.


‘There are plenty of spooky night-life outings to graveyards, picking up clues in the foggy Edinburgh streets and getting into trouble with the local police, as the two young sleuths track down the villains. The ingenious plot is rich enough to keep you guessing until the very end. A great series to snatch the attention of reluctant readers away from screens and get them reading.’
-- Carousel

'This exciting tale follows the fictional adventures of a young Arthur Conan Doyle (author of the Sherlock Holmes books) & his mate Ham. When graves are robbed all over Edinburgh with the bodies being abandoned later he deduces that the crooks must be after something else the graves might contain. With several nods to the original stories this is a hugely enjoyable crime mystery which this huge Holmes fan absolutely loved.'
-- Lara Mieduniecki, Blackwell's

'I LOVED IT! As a fan of the original Sherlock Holmes books I thought the characterisation of these books were spot on! .... Yet at the same time they didn’t lose their own identity and had their own character quirks.
There are also lots of other nods to the original tales which both serves to please any Holmes fan but does not take away from the books individuality and enjoyment so any Holmes novice would be able to enjoy them for their own. A perfect combination of a classic mystery and a new adventure.'
-- Sharleen Creasey, Seven Stories

'Even as an adult I liked this story and hope more will be coming out. I’m particularly looking forward to getting my son to read this so we can talk about the story. It was just very refreshing to be able to find something for my son that he can read which is both fun and has an educational tone to it by teaching kids to be more observant.'
-- Artistic Bent blog

'As soon as you turn the page, you find yourself instantly transported back to 19th century Edinburgh, where it is swirling with fog, danger and a slight hint of bagpipes playing in the background. [...] This is a very enjoyable detective story consisting of some brilliant dialogue. It has a fantastic ending which makes a good impression for the rest of the series. '
-- Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books

'This is a clever and creative imagining of Arthur Conan Doyle as a middle school kid detective with his sidekick, Hamilton. It is a fun read and [...] I am reminded a bit of old school Enid Blyton and Franklin Dixon series novels.'
-- GoodReads

'I would recommend this read to children who have not been introduced to Sherlock Holmes. It is a really creative spin to focus on the author as a child.'
-- NetGalley

'This is a fun, exciting adventure with the main character being the young Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. [...] This is a perfect book for 6th grade and up, especially those who like Sherlock or Elementary.'
-- NetGalley

'This new series is a welcome addition to those dealing with the formative years of other real and literary heroes [...]It is ideal for readers of 9+ looking for an adventure story, and one to hopefully lead them on to the source material later.'
-- Armadillo

'An entertaining story'.
-- The Sherlock Holmes Journal

'The plot is filled with twists and turns, keeping even the most reluctant reader engaged. VERDICT An enticing mystery for fans of detective fiction who may not be ready to tackle the real Conan Doyle's works.'
-- School Library Journal

'This quick read with likeable characters has just enough camaraderie, spookiness, and suspense to capture tepid readers. As an added attraction, young readers can glean some facts about the celebrated author.'
-- School Library Connection

'The Gravediggers' Club (with the apostrophe in the correct place!): what a cracking title to intrigue those keen young readers. If they aren’t keen before they start reading, they will be by the end of this book and the series title suggests there will be more to follow this opening number. [...] Robert Harris has written a 19th century crime story, which weaves historical detail and interest into its plot to create a fast-moving and well-written novel. [...] An ingenious plot, which is acknowledged by the author to share similarities with two well-known Sherlock stories, leads the reader through graveyards, into illegal knuckle-fighting dens, past medical galvanists to the history of the Crimean War in the search for the criminal gang: 'The Gravediggers' Club'. Descriptions are vivid but sparely used, dialogue is fresh, pertinent and humorous, characterisation is clear… a budding Sherlock Holmes is obvious in Artie himse... and waves of tension keep the reader page turning. This is a highly readable book for 9—13 both as a gripping mystery novel but also as a staging post for further historical research and perhaps as a precursor to reading the real Conan Doyle books in maturity.'
-- School Library Association


Robert J. Harris was born in Dundee and now lives in St Andrews with his wife, sons and his dog. He is the author of many children's books, including Will Shakespeare and the Pirate's Fire, Leonardo and the Death Machine and zany Norse-god trilogy The World's Gone Loki!.

You can also visit the author's own website at


Discover more of our Scottish children's books on the Discover Kelpies website, where you can search the full Kelpies range, from board books to young teen novels, by age, genre, subject and location.

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