The Night Calls

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As a young medical student, Arthur Conan Doyle-the creator of Sherlock Holmes-studied under one of the pioneers in forensic medicine, Dr. Joseph Bell. While details of Doyle’s actual relationship with the Doctor remain shrouded in mystery, author David Pirie has created an engrossing series that pairs the two as partners in criminal investigations in the dark underworlds of Victorian Edinburgh.

The Night Calls chronicles their most frightening...
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Overview

As a young medical student, Arthur Conan Doyle-the creator of Sherlock Holmes-studied under one of the pioneers in forensic medicine, Dr. Joseph Bell. While details of Doyle’s actual relationship with the Doctor remain shrouded in mystery, author David Pirie has created an engrossing series that pairs the two as partners in criminal investigations in the dark underworlds of Victorian Edinburgh.

The Night Calls chronicles their most frightening and disturbing case, the encounter with the man who prefigures Holmes’ archnemesis Moriarty. A series of bizarre and outlandish assaults on women in the brothels of Edinburgh has caught the attention of Bell, who calls on Doyle to assist in the investigation. At the same time, however, there’s a violent struggle for women's educational rights taking place at the university’s medical school where Doyle is a student. There he meets young Elsbeth Scott, a fellow student with an unfortunate list of enemies, among them a crazed misogynist student name Crawford, and the smiling hypocritical patron of the university, Henry Carlisle.

Bell slowly begins to realize that the increasingly freakish crimes indicate a heretofore unknown and terrifying kind of criminal, one who is not susceptible to the Doctor’s old methods. The Night Calls takes them from the evil heart of old Edinburgh into what Bell calls their “fight against the future” and to London itself, where Doyle again faces a villain with terrifying results.
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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
… the graceful flow of Pirie's evocative storytelling and his lively rendering of the 19th-century idiom are reason enough to stick with the intrepid Bell and Doyle on their wild-goose chases. — Marilyn Stasio
Baltimore Sun
Holmes fans will enjoy picking out Sherlockian references, but The Night Calls is a fun read for anyone. It's wonderfully atmospheric and filled with the kind of florid action and exotic characters that Doyle loved.
New York Times
The cliffhanger adventures of Bell and Doyle.... keep us enthralled.
Publishers Weekly
In British author Pirie's second novel to feature a young Arthur Conan Doyle and his real-life mentor, Dr. Joseph Bell, as prototypes for Watson and Holmes, the pair pursue a serial killer stalking 1878 Edinburgh, but the results fall short of the high standard set by last year's The Patient's Eyes. Tormented as before by his family's desperate circumstances caused by his father's descent into dementia, Conan Doyle again finds some relief in a romantic interest, this time a fellow medical student threatened by faculty and staff appalled at the prospect of female doctors. The baffling clues left behind to both engage and taunt the detectives, including carefully constructed piles of coins and a room painted in blood, point to two obvious suspects. Alas, the early unmasking of the real murderer owes less to Bell's tremendous Sherlockian deductive gifts than would be expected. The less-than-compelling remainder of the story climaxes in a cliffhanger that will annoy some readers and leave others breathlessly anticipating the sequel. Hopefully, next time Pirie will present Bell, Doyle and the killer as psychologically complex characters, just as he did in his marvelously twisted whodunit of a debut. (Aug. 4) FYI: Pirie was nominated for an Edgar for his script of Murder Rooms, the BBC series inspired by Conan Doyle's relationship with Dr. Bell. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Arthur Conan Doyle's young adulthood foreshadows the life of his legendary sleuth Sherlock Holmes, down to imperilment by a nemesis who might as well be named Moriarty. Nearing the end of his medical studies, fledgling doctor Doyle is still the protégé of abrasive Joseph Bell, an unpopular but unquestionably brilliant forensics pioneer (The Patient's Eyes, 2002). Two major challenges face Doyle as Watson and Bell as Holmes. Despite a recent law, the University of Edinburgh refuses to admit female students. Doyle and Bell become champions of these early feminists. When beautiful redhead Elspeth Scott plans to circumvent sexism by disguising herself as a man, Doyle helps her study after hours, and romance blossoms. Meanwhile, however, a serial attacker is stalking the female employees of Rosie's, a local brothel. With one exception, his crimes fall short of murder; indeed, his motive seems to have more to do with challenging Bell and Doyle than a conventional criminal pathology. Among the suspects is Sir Henry Carlisle, a frequenter of Rosie's who has apparently infected his demure wife Sarah with venereal disease. The sleuthing duo solves the mystery, but not in time to catch the surprise perpetrator or prevent further tragedy. But this is only half the story. As Doyle struggles to establish his first practice, the criminal mastermind relentlessly bedevils him and his loved ones. Wonderfully written psychological suspense, all the more tantalizing for its real-life roots.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781933648798
  • Publisher: Pegasus Books
  • Publication date: 7/7/2008
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

David Pirie was a journalist and film critic before he became a screenwriter and novelist. An Edgar nominee, he has recently been working with Martin Scorsese’s company Cappa Films on his original thriller The 12. David Pirie lives in Somerset, UK. This is his second novel.
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Table of Contents

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