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)
While a young medical student at Edinburgh, Arthur Conan Doyle famously studied under the remarkable Dr Joseph Bell. Taking this as a starting point, David Pirie has woven a compelling thriller which partners Bell and Doyle as pioneers in criminal investigation, exploring the strange underworld of violence and sexual hypocrisy running below the surface of the Victorian era. The Patient's Eyes moves from Edinburgh and the strange circumstances surrounding Doyle's meeting with the remarkable Joseph Bell to Southsea where he begins his first medical practice. There he is puzzled by the symptoms presented by Heather Grace, a sweet young woman whose parents have died tragically several years before. Heather has a strange eye complaint, but is also upset by visions of a phantom cyclist who vanishes as soon as he is followed.
This enigma, however, is soon forgotten as Doyle finds himself embroiled in more threatening events - including the murder of a rich Spanish businessman - events that call for the intervention of the eminent Dr Bell. But despite coming to Doyle's aid, perversely Dr Bell considers the murder of Senor Garcia a rather unimportant diversion from the far more sinister matter, which has brought him south: the matter of the patient's eyes and the solitary cyclist…
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