Item description for The Patient's Eyes: The Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes by David Pirie...
"The cliffhanger adventures of Bell and Doyle keep us enthralled, as does the graceful flow of Pirie's evocative storytelling."-Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
An atmospheric, literary thriller that partners Dr. Joseph Bell (widely believed to be the model for Sherlock Holmes himself) and Arthur Conan Doyle as innovators in criminal investigation, exploring the strange underworld of violence and sexual hypocrisy running beneath the surface of the Victorian era.
David Pirie is the author of two other critically acclaimed novels in the Arthur Conan Doyle series, The Night Calls and The Dark Water. He lives in Bath.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.75" Width: 5.25" Height: 8" Weight: 0.58 lbs.
Release Date Jun 1, 2007
Publisher Pegasus Books
ISBN 1933648430 ISBN13 9781933648439
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 Patient's Eyes: The Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes?
Interesting Premise Aug 13, 2008
This series reminds me of Bruce Alexander's "Sir John Fleming" which is based in the late eighteenth century. Pirie does a marvelous job of creating the late Victorian era with all of it's warts and quirks (especially in it's treatment of woman).
What I didn't enjoy was some of the convolutions that Pirie goes through in trying to create his mysteries. They can be flakey or superficial and at other times, so detailed as to be boring. The main story, which is related to Conan Doyle's failed attempt to become a practicing physician in a small country town. It is in itself a curiosity (as were all of the Holmes stories) but I didn't find Dr.Bell's way of explaining a "case" as absorbing as when explained by Holmes to Dr.Watson. (Of course Watson was a little cotton-headed but not as bad as Basil Rathbone's Dr.Watson).
Conan Doyle's problems with 'romance' in many ways is reflected in Dr.Watson and has many parallels in this novel. Pirie also does a good job of bringing in the Victorian 'bent' for the supernatural and all things 'ghosty' that was prevalent among the 'upper crust' at this time. All in all not a bad first effort.
Strong Debut!! Feb 3, 2008
Haven't read any Holmes stories in years and a friend recommended this book. Briefly I was totally engaged. The characterizations are sharp and the atmosphere is thick with dread. Doyle's attempt to come to terms with "the method" based on previous(actual?) experiences makes for an interesting conflict that runs thru out the book. Can't wait to read the other 2.
Excellent story of the dark beginnings of Sherlock Holmes Oct 28, 2006
Written by the screenwriter of the BBC's Murder Rooms, this mystery chronicles Arthur Conan Doyle's first meeting with the eccentric Dr. Joseph Bell. Providing the basis for Sherlock Holmes, Bell and his "method" are put to the test with a number of cases, but the series of events surrounding a beautiful patient of Doyle's is the most sinister. As a fan of the short-lived television series, I bought the book as soon as I heard about it. Surprisingly the book did not strictly follow the episodes that I had seen. Pirie's evocative writing perfectly captures the memoirs of a troubled man recalling his dark past. He also has a talent for creating an ominous, foreboding atmosphere. I'd recommend this mystery to avid Sherlock Holmes fans, but also to anyone who wants to read a dark, thrilling story.
Arthur Conan Doyle meets Joseph Bell. Dec 28, 2003
David Pirie's "The Patient's Eyes" is the first in a series of books about the collaboration between Arthur Conan Doyle and Joseph Bell. Doyle is a young medical student in Edinburgh when he meets Bell, who is both a teacher in the medical school and a forensic scientist. Doyle soon becomes Bell's clerk and the two work together on a number of cases, including the very strange one in this novel.
Doyle's patient, Heather Grace, is a lovely young woman who suffers from eye troubles and nightmares. She also believes that a man has been surreptitiously following her, and may wish to do her harm. Since Miss Grace is about to come into a great deal of money, Doyle suspects that her relatives may want to get their hands on her fortune. When Dr. Bell intercedes in the case, he uses his forensic skills, his intuition, and his uncanny powers of detection to get to the bottom of the affair.
Pirie is a superior writer and he brings all of the characters in "The Patient's Eyes" to brilliant life. Doyle is a callow and troubled young man who comes from a dysfunctional family. Bell is Doyle's mentor, and he may be the real life model for the great fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes. Pirie's language, settings, and even the titles he chooses for his chapters are all reminiscent of those used in the Sherlock Holmes stories. There are also puzzles galore in this book to intrigue those who love interesting ciphers.
The story is complicated yet thoroughly engrossing, and I was genuinely surprised by the developments at the end of the book. Pirie has a knack for writing satisfying mysteries and I look forward to more novels about the collaboration between Arthur Conan Doyle and Joseph Bell.
The first case for Arthur Conan Doyle and Dr. Joseph Bell Sep 4, 2003
Those who have admired the cases of Sherlock Holmes and found "The 7 Percent Solution" to be a fresh look at the first great detective of popular fiction will find a different game afoot in "The Patient's Eye." The intriguing premise for David Pirie's novel is that Arthur Conan Doyle is playing the Watson role to Dr. Joseph Bell, the writer's real-life mentor in medical school at Edinburough and the model for Holmes. Doyle starts off in the role of Scully, unable to accept that the practice of medicine has anything to do with Dr. Bell's deductive reasoning from minute clues, but in due course he becomes a true believer in Bell's pioneering work in forensic medicine.
The case involves Miss Heather Grace, a young heiress who has been traumatized by an attack by a lunatic who murdered her parents. Now Miss Grace is subject to visions of a figure who follows her on her bicycle. The conceit here is that Pirie is working backwards from several of the cases from the Holmes canon, most obviously "The Solitary Cyclist," but also "The Speckled Band" and "Wisteria Lodge." The idea is that Doyle later fictionalized these stories from the "real" events contained herein. It was a good move on Pirie's part not to simply offer up the "true" story of one the original Holmes mysteries or to try and tackle one of the "biggies" in the canon. There is also more romance than you find in Doyle, what with the young doctor falling for his patient.
Most importantly, Pirie is able to present Doyle and Bell as interesting substitutes for Watson and Holmes. There is no pretense of friendship between the pair; they are teacher and student. Doyle is not as much the inept foil that Watson serves in the stories (indeed, he solves several initial mysteries before getting in over his head) and Bell is arguably more charismatic than the driven Holmes. There are times when Pirie follows the Doyle model too closely and the gallery of suspects is rather overdrawn, but as the first effort in what is clearly going to be a developing series, "The Patient's Eyes" is worth the reading. The execution is not quite up to the ambitious idea, but that is a minor concern. The one caveat is that you should read over the original Sherlock Holmes stories on which this novel is based to better appreciate how Pirie is using them in this story.