Item description for The Dark Water: The Strange Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes by David Pirie...
"The third novel in an imaginative Victorian series narrated by the young Arthur Conan Doyle. As the inspirational model for Sherlock Holmes, the brilliant and eccentric Dr. Bell properly takes charge of the cryptic codes that figure in this ingenious mystery."-Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
"Pirie's knowledge of Doyle's biography, as well as of the Holmes canon, makes him an intellectual treat and a downright guilty pleasure."-The Washington Post
"I was utterly hooked. It's not just Thomas Harris; it's also Raymond Chandler and Arthur Conan Doyle himself. All of these great writers are echoed in a way that is not merely wonderful and absolutely gripping, but completely original. The series has huge commercial potential."-Sarah Dunant, #1 New York Times best-selling author of In the Company of the Courtesan
In a literary tour de force worthy of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself, author David Pirie brings his rich familiarity with both the Doyle biography and the Sherlock Holmes canon to a mystifying Victorian tale of vengeance and villainy. The howling man on the heath, a gothic asylum, the walking dead, the legendary witch of Dunwich-perils lurk in every turn of the page throughout this ingenious novel, as increasingly bizarre encounters challenge the deductive powers of young Doyle and his mentor, the pioneering criminal investigator Dr. Joseph Bell.
David Pirie is the author of two other critically praised novels featuring Arthur Conan Doyle, The Patient's Eyes and The Night Calls. He lives in Bath.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 1" Width: 5.5" Height: 9" Weight: 1.05 lbs.
Release Date Oct 1, 2007
Publisher Pegasus Books
ISBN 1933648597 ISBN13 9781933648590
Availability 0 units.
More About David Pirie
David Pirie is the author of two other Arthur Conan Doyle novels, "The Patient's Eyes" and The Dark Water". He lives in Bath.
David Pirie currently resides in Somerset. David Pirie was born in 1946.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Dark Water: The Strange Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes?
Tightly written Feb 4, 2007
The Dark Water: The Strange Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes is a unique mystery novel, set in the Victorian countryside, and featuring Sherlock Holmes' creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Holmes' inspirational figure Dr. Joseph Bell as the protagonists. A grisly trail of seemingly unrelated murders entangles the two, and their hunt for the killer eventually leads them to a cliffside village and a breathtaking, cataclysmic struggle with a terrible nemesis from Doyle's past. Tightly written, drawing heavily upon author David Pirie's familiarity with both Sherlock Holmes canon and Doyle's biography, The Dark Water is an enthralling literary work from cover to cover. Also highly recommended for mystery genre enthusiasts are Pirie's previous Arthur Conan Doyle novels, "The Patient's Eyes" and "The Night Calls".
A Bit Contrived Jan 23, 2007
The atmospherics are there, with the gothic scene of the moor and the legend of the Dunmore witch to bolster things, and the opening scene of a drugged Doyle being threatened by a Hannibal Lecter-like Dr. Creame is riveting but ultimately the plot is more than a bit too contrived to fully satisfy. And to use a dowsing stick (dowsing is also called water-witching)to help solve the mystery?...please. Sherlock himself would raise an eyebrow or two. If you're willing to overlook a few faults, the book is very readable and some fun. I would recommend Carraher's Sherlock Holmes in NYC series for more true Sherlockian-type mysteries, i.e., more realistic crimes solved through deduction.
Fans of Holmes this is a must read Jan 9, 2007
I am an avid reader of Holmes, and started reading Pirie's books several years ago. He has wonderfully blended the non-fiction elements of Conan Doyle and Dr Bell with the fiction of a "Holmes" kind of world where mysteries abound, and a bad man is murdering relentlessy across England. I am facinated in Dr Bell, who was in fact Doyle's inspiration for Holmes, and wish there were more details about his career available. Of course this is fiction, but many of the places of interest and events were based on fact (look up the town by the sea they visit, it was real!). You must read the first books in the series, however, or this book will not have the same powerful significance. It is a non-stop nail biter, I read it in hours. Also, for true Holmes fantatics, you will love the way Pirie blends in many details from several Holmes stories into his books. I like trying to recall which story they were from. I can't wait for the next book!
"I can justify everything I do." Sep 18, 2006
David Pirie's "The Dark Water" is the latest installment in the adventures of Arthur Conan Doyle and his mentor, Joseph Bell, after whom, many believe, Doyle modeled his great fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes. The year is 1883, and Thomas Neill Cream, once a friend of Doyle's, has shown himself to be a diabolical and sadistic fiend. Cream is a handsome, charming, and well spoken sociopath. He adopts a variety of aliases and presents a normal face to the world when it suits his purposes, but when his mask is lifted, he savagely kills and tortures men and women alike, sometimes just for sport.
Cream sees himself as a man of destiny, and he celebrates murder as an act of glory and freedom. In Pirie's previous novel, Cream committed a heinous crime that caused Doyle great suffering. By no means is Cream finished making mischief; he threatens to inflict even greater harm on both Doyle and Bell, whom he considers his archenemies. Since Cream is careful to leave few clues behind, Bell is determined to apprehend him using his formidable intellect and famous methods of scientific deduction.
"The Dark Water" is a complex and chilling tale in which Doyle and Bell track Cream to Dunwich, a forbidding place that is slowly sinking into the sea. Here, a legendary witch was driven to her death back in the seventeenth century. Superstitious townspeople still believe in some of the old legends, such as the existence of a "howling man" who comes back periodically from the dead to terrify anyone who sees and hears him.
"The Dark Water" is a richly textured and atmospheric story with superb descriptive writing and a variety of colorful characters, including Oliver Jefford, a wealthy gambler and fop who suddenly disappears, his concerned sister, Charlotte, who comes to town to search for him, and Dr. James Bulweather, the local doctor who may know more than he is willing to reveal. There is a juicy section in the book that will delight cryptographers; Bell must find the key to an unbreakable code in order to solve a baffling mystery. Pirie wisely humanizes Doyle and Bell, who both make crucial errors for which they pay dearly. Doyle at one point is furious at Bell for being too rational and lacking compassion. Bell responds, "Concern is never sufficient. I have to follow the line of reason." Reason, alas, has its limitations.
Pirie's themes include the ways in which superstition and gossip can harm a community, the terrible consequences of secrets and lies, the fallibility of even the most astute individual, and the necessity of balancing both feelings and logic when dealing with our fellow human beings. Pirie is a master at building suspense to an almost unbearable level until he reaches his nerve-wracking conclusion. Readers who love authentic Victorian mysteries with courageous heroes and a larger than life villain will find "The Dark Water" deliciously frightening and thoroughly engrossing.