The Night Calls by David Pirie

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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 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.

About David Pirie

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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.
Published January 1, 2002 by Century. 320 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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indeed, his motive seems to have more to do with challenging Bell and Doyle than a conventional criminal pathology.

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Publishers Weekly

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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.

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Reviewing the Evidence

Although the book did have its minor flaws, the book moves along fast enough to disguise most of them.

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The Best Reviews

In 1878 Arthur Conan Doyle studies medicine at the University of Edinburgh under the tutelage of Dr. Joseph Bell.

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