The Patient's Eyes
The Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes. Murder Rooms S.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
Arthur Conan Doyle is a 19-year-old medical student in Edinburgh when he becomes the surprise protege of that brilliant doctor and insufferable egotist Joseph Bell. Dr. Bell's arrogance has made him unpopular with both students and colleagues. But all give grudging respect to his pioneering work in forensics and his resultant success in criminal detection. Young Doyle, who has heretofore drifted through his privileged life at a cool distance, finds in himself an unusual passion for unraveling such mysteries and for collaborating with the idiosyncratic Bell, who by turns dazzles and infuriates him. As Watson to Bell's Holmes, Doyle helps unravel a locked-door mystery and a puzzle involving an elaborate number code the reader also gets an opportunity to crack. Doyle discovers another passion in the delicate and vulnerable Heather Grace, who comes to him as a patient suffering from nightmares following the mass murder of her family by an unknown killer-a case Bell calls one of the most notorious crimes of the 1870s. Anonymous messages and unusual accidents indicate that Miss Grace may still be in danger. Enlisting Bell's help, Doyle soon finds his search for this killer becoming a personal obsession. Pirie shrewdly conceives Doyle as an amalgam of Holmes and Watson, with the former's incisive edge but the latter's ingenuous gullibility. His rich, intelligent writing captures a 19th-century flavor without sacrificing pace. (Kirkus Reviews)