Item description for The Night Calls: The Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes by David Pirie...
Overview A latest mystery featuring the detective partnership of Arthur Conan Doyle and his forensic investigator mentor takes them from the heart of old Edinburgh to the depths of London's most violent streets, where they confront a killer who is both brilliant and ruthless. By the author of The Patient's Eyes. Original.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 1.25" Width: 5.5" Height: 8.25" Weight: 0.72 lbs.
Release Date Jul 8, 2008
ISBN 1933648791 ISBN13 9781933648798
Availability 118 units. Availability accurate as of May 29, 2017 11:59.
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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 Night Calls: The Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes?
psychological thriller Jul 12, 2008
another in the series of books about Arthur Conan Doyle and his mentor Dr Bell. Dark, brooding and filled with labyrinthine scenarios. I loved it
An Unsatisfactory Read Dec 3, 2005
I got through this book by gritting my teeth. Why I put myself through the thankless task is the true mystery of this novel of suspense. A mystery compounded by the fact that there is no resolution at the end - just a referal to the next volume in The Murder Room Series and I won't be reading that any day soon - make that never. I have never felt so conned.
It's an odd book. The narrator is an irritating, petulant twerp who constantly lets his emotions rule his behaviour and I quickly lost any sympathy for him. The novel is within shouting distance of a resolution half way through but the author then spins the novel out and on to its detriment.
The second half of the novel turns on an increasingly preposterous series of coincidences that would put Amistad Maupin to shame. The predictability of the ensuing events is equally annoying. As for the "surprise" at the end? What surprise - I could see it a mile away!
The author's notes makes it clear that he was inspired to write this particular novel due to a coincidence he discovered in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's background history - that he had studied medicine with a notorious serial killer - but he took that idea and just got carried away. The "idea" didn't warrent a second (or third?) novel. In deed, it didn't deserve one novel of this length. The first half could have been developed into one interesting, self-contained novel but it wasn't and more's the pity.
All in all, an unsatisfactory read.
Thoroughly captivating suspense! Jun 16, 2004
I just finished reading this book, and I absolutely LOVED it, I couldn't put it down. Thanks to a friend in Edinburgh who sent me this book, I am now an avid fan of the series, and having never read any Sherlock Holmes novels (I know, shame on me!), not only did this book fascinate me, but it also made me want to read Doyle's works, and learn more about the man. Anyone who loves literary fiction or who is a Holmes fan (obviously), or just likes a good suspenseful horror novel, will LOVE this book!
Killer and sleuths match wits in this exciting thriller. Sep 21, 2003
David Pirie's excellent novel, "The Night Calls," features a young Arthur Doyle, who is a medical student, and his mentor, Dr. Joseph Bell. Bell's sharp powers of observation and clever methods of detection were an inspiration for Doyle's fictional character, Sherlock Holmes.
It is the late 1800's in Edinburgh, Scotland. Arthur Doyle and Dr. Joseph Bell combine their resources to investigate a series of grisly assaults on women. Ultimately, Bell fears that the assaults are the work of an unhinged individual whose crimes may soon escalate to murder. It turns out that Bell's fears are well founded. Their antagonist is a sadist who has tremendous intelligence, imagination, cruelty, and daring.
With his skilled description and vivid characterizations, Pirie has done a marvelous job of capturing the mood of the times. He tackles several feminist themes, including the discrimination that faced young ladies who wished to attend medical school, and the wretched exploitation of impoverished women who sold their virtue in order to survive.
The characters of Bell and Doyle and sharp and well-drawn. Bell's incisive mind, no-nonsense approach, and tenacity when faced with a difficult problem are indeed reminiscent of the great Sherlock Holmes. The central villain of the piece is a vile individual who will make your blood run cold.
Pirie includes several intriguing subplots, including one about a chauvinistic and cruel husband and another about an arrogant scientist who believes that the ends of scientific discovery justify unethical means. "The Night Calls" is a chilling, fascinating, and expertly written novel, and I recommend it highly.
Atmospheric and absorbing Aug 29, 2003
Sherlock Holmes. Very few names are as evocative as that one. And yet there are many questions and speculations surrounding the creation of that marvelous fictional detective. It has been said that the only way to gain any true knowledge of Holmes is through his creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. David Pirie must subscribe to that train of thought as well and has therefore devised a background for Doyle. In so doing, Pirie gives us an imaginative glimpse into the relationship between the writer and Dr. Joseph Bell, the man credited with being the inspiration for Holmes himself.
`The Night Calls' is first and foremost a thoroughly atmospheric, not to mention a completely absorbing, story. Each setting and scene is described in careful detail, which lends the prose a rich density that manages to escape any sense of being cumbersome. The reader is allowed to take to the streets of Edinburgh and London right alongside Doyle and Bell. Yes, those streets are dark and unsavory, but you would never think of turning back. And even though Pirie takes the mystery on a couple of tangent jaunts that may seem unnecessary, the heart of it remains compellingly close and "concludes" in a highly chilling manner.
After reading the Historical Note included at the end of the novel, I was surprised to find just how much of Doyle's real life had been snuck into the narrative. Pieces of the man's history that you think must have been part of the fiction turned out to be true and you appreciate the way the story was crafted even more for it. This is the type of novel that makes you want to learn more. More about Doyle himself, about the real-life serial killer that plagues Bell and Doyle throughout, and more about the women's movement that rose up during the time.
I thoroughly enjoyed `The Night Calls' and have since purchased `The Patient's Eye' which actually precedes this novel. I am also anticipating the dvd release of `The Murder Rooms', a miniseries upon which the novels were based.