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The Night Calls (2003)

The Night Calls (2003)

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4.07 of 5 Votes: 2
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0312291043 (ISBN13: 9780312291044)
minotaur books

About book The Night Calls (2003)

This is the second book about the early life and adventures of Arthur Conan Doyle. Partly based on the author's own research into the factual history Conan Doyle and a healthy imagination, this series reveals how his last two years as a medical student and early years as a doctor gave him the insights and experience to later create the World's Greatest Consulting Detective. Key to this premise and in the historical record is Doyle's knowledge and familiarity with a brilliant and "peculiar" Professor, Dr. Joseph Bell.In this novel, Mr. Pirie delves deeper into the dark past of Doyle while he was still a medical student and how he and Bell uncovered a ruthless and evil mind who had been one of Doyle's closest associates. While the prior novel, "The Patient's Eyes", dealt with mystery and murder, this book is much blacker in tone and detail. I would not go so far as to say the the first novel is "lighthearted", but it almost seems so in comparison to this one.If you saw the BBC movies "Murder Rooms" and "Murder Rooms: The Patient's Eyes" on PBS, there is quite a lot of overlap in this volume. But, even if you did see them, I strongly recommend this book before moving on to the third novel in the series. I read that one first and the beginning is rather abrupt if you do not have the final chapters of this one as a lead-in.This novel crosses over more into the horror genre than generic mystery. Although it may put off some readers I think that because this book encompasses the central theme of how Bell and Doyle will relate for the rest of their lives it is worth the effort. Without giving anything away, Doyle suffers a severe personal loss because there is a failure of Bell and his method to apprehend the criminal (or to divine the danger quickly enough). So, in the middle of the novel, we have a break between them that only begins to heal slowly. The re-emergence of the arch-vilian speeds this process, but there is no simple forgive and forget. The author makes Doyle's character too short-sighted to understand how his mentor truly sees his own abilities and failures until deep into the novel. This is an area where one wants Doyle to be a little less pig-headed, but the points are resolved well later on.I thought that the writing and plotting were very, very good. This novel is both longer and faster-paced the its predecessor. In a few places I could predict a plot turn, but in almost every case this was because I had read the successor novel beforehand, so don't do that. Because of how this book links to the next one, they are less "standalones" than a co-joined pair. One can certainly read this book and never the third, but "The Dark Water" has plot elements whose understanding depends on this book. I recommend the book to anyone who likes a good story. I think that the author took a big chance in changing the "tone" of the series with this second entry and it was a good decision. I also think that those who search for elements of Sherlock Holmes in this series will also feel more rewarded. Perhaps not in an obvious way, but there is a flavor here that reminds me more of the longer and darker Holmes stories. I've ranked it a straight "4.0", but this does seem like the best of the series and perhaps it's worth a "4.25" or "4.5". See for yourself.

I have had David Pirie's trilogy of books featuring Arthur Conan Doyle on my list of potential books to read for quite some time now. I wish there was some way to know what books you will love before you read them.... perhaps a little metal detector, or a literary Geiger counter that would give you a reading on its dial indicating you will like this but not that, even a forecast predicting have a seventy five percent chance of enjoying this book. If only... and if so, then I would certainly have read David Pirie's books long ago.I was lucky enough to find these books after there were three of them to read. I'm sure I would have been frustrated to read the first one only to have to wait a year to read the second then do the same for the third. I read them one right after the other and I recommend others do the same.Pirie writes about Arthur Conan Doyle, embellishing on the known facts about his relationship with Dr. Joseph Bell, who was the model for Sherlock Holmes. The Historical Note alone makes for fascinating reading and I read that before starting the book, which for me made the fiction that much more enjoyable.I think I liked 'The Night Calls' best of the three books because there is a bit of happiness for ACD in this story and we learn about his relationship with Elsbeth who was referred to numerous times in 'The Patient's Eyes'. This was a fast paced read with all of the necessary ingredients for a favorite for me; realistic and likeable characters with convincing relationships, believable dialog and a story that follows logic. There were a few sloppy editing errors which reflected poorly on the proof reader but didn't influence my appreciation for the story and the characterization created by the author.I would recommend this to fans of historical fiction and mysteries and I think Sherlockians would appreciate this as well. Overall well done, I wish David Pirie would write more like this.

Do You like book The Night Calls (2003)?

The historical note at the end is fairly amazing because it makes you believe for a second that there is some mystery from Doyle's real life that has been covered up. I love this series and the adaptations. I do feel that Doyle gets a bit annoying with his doubts about Dr. Bell. Clearly he should idolize Bell. How could you not? It's a long book and it does add some nice wrinkles to the standard serial killer novel.The author says he does not like pastiche and this is not. It is clever and has many nice scenes. There several really well done surreal scenes both "real" and in dreams. The stakes of the story are high since the killer wants to break Doyle. The ending is quite a cliffhanger in this regard. It's almost a negative it's so painful. I can't decide if it is a cheap ending or great. I need to read the next one pronto to find out.

Have to think about this one before endorsing. There was certainly a lot of action in this one as well as love, heartbreak, family trauma without resolution and then there was the truly bone-chilling ending. I do not watch "scary" movies and feel like a teenage or college-aged son has pulled a prank on me...but still - I will go to library tomorrow to read the third and final? (I hope for my nerves!)Then I will make my final decision on this series. There are many good parts but also weak parts. I don't usually continue reading in cases like this, but the ending of this one forces the reader to continue. Grrrrrr!

4.5 stars.Wow! I am very glad that I continued with this series. I was on the fence about The Patient’s Eyes when I read it, but The Night Calls blew the first book out of the water. I completely devoured this thing in two evenings.The mystery is strange, gripping, and horrifying. There is an amazing twist in this book that hit me like a punch in the gut and actually made me shout out loud in shock. That’s a pretty rare thing. Doyle is far more likeable and interesting in this story than he was in the Patient’s Eyes. I can finally understand the friendship between him and Doctor Bell. Doyle, despite being inexperienced, does bring something to the table in their partnership.I still adore Bell. He is truly fantastic. Again, he is not Holmes. He is gentler, more considerate and caring. Every scene with him is excellent.Elsbeth Small is a far more interesting character than Heather Grace was. Her and Doyle’s relationship is really lovely.There is also a wonderful cast of minor characters this time around and a superb and fascinating villain.After reading this, I understand why Pirie structured this series in such a strange way. The bulk of The Patient’s Eyes fits in the middle of this book. The Night Calls is such a tense read that it would be very jarring to stop in the middle of the mystery to deal with the case from The Patient’s Eyes. By moving that into a separate book, Pirie is able to keep this plot all together for maximum effect. Setting the series up like this is a bit unusual, and makes the first book feel a bit disjointed, but I think the payoff is worth it.Lastly, what a way to end a book! An absolutely evil cliffhanger ending. I’m desperate to get home from work and start on The Dark Water.

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