Home / News from NPR / Book News: U.S. Appeals Court Slams ‘Extortion’ By Conan Doyle Estate
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries, is seen aboard the SS Olympic in 1923.

Book News: U.S. Appeals Court Slams ‘Extortion’ By Conan Doyle Estate

By Annalisa Quinn NPR

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

  • The estate of Arthur Conan Doyle has been ordered to pay more than $30,000 in legal fees to Leslie Klinger, an author and Sherlock Holmes expert who successfully challenged the estate’s copyright. Calling the estate’s grip on the Sherlock Holmes story “a form of extortion,” a U.S. appeals court said Klinger “performed a public service” and deserved to be repaid. In December, a court ruled that the character of Sherlock Holmes, as well as Holmes stories written before 1923, are in the public domain. That ruling was upheld in June.
  • “Dubstep,” “mojito” and “frenemy” are among more than 5,000 new words added to The Official SCRABBLE Players Dictionary. “Selfie,” “mixtape” and “schmutz” also made the cut.
  • Christian Wiman has two new poems in Commonweal magazine. One of them, “Memories Mercies,” begins:

“Memory’s mercies

mostly aren’t

but there were

I swear


veined with grace”

  • “Not to brag, but I’ve been rejected by the five best Poetry MFA programs in the world.” — Marie-Helene Bertino (whose novel 2 A.M. at The Cat’s Pajamas came out this week) writes in Tin House about failure.
  • Abraham Lincoln’s handwriting was found in an 1854 book on race in an Illinois library. The name Clifton Moore — a local attorney and the book’s probable owner — was inscribed on one of the book’s first pages in handwriting long rumored to be Lincoln’s. Handwriting experts confirmed that the writing was the 16th president’s. The book, Types of Mankind, is a treatise written by proponents of slavery. Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Curator James Cornelius told The Associated Press that Lincoln would likely have read it to strengthen his case against slavery: “Lincoln was worried that the whole idea that you could segregate one group of people based on some brand new thinking would just carry on into other realms.”
  • io9 collects some of the most egregious typos in history, including a 1631 Bible commanding, “Thou shalt commit adultery.”
Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Check Also

Los Angeles Lakers forward Kobe Bryant stands on the court during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Denver Nuggets in early November. On Sunday, Bryant announced this season would be his last, in a poem posted online.

Kobe Bryant Announces Retirement (In The Form Of A Poem)

The five-time NBA champion, who has had a rough year on the court, says this season will be his last. In a poem on the Players' Tribune website, he writes, "My body knows it's time to say goodbye."