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The Patient's Eyes (Arthur Conan Doyle and Dr. Joseph Bell #1)

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  405 ratings  ·  35 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 er ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published May 6th 2004 by Arrow (first published 2001)
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I have been looking for a series for quite some time now without any luck. While 'The Patient's Eyes' is the first in a trilogy rather than a series I'm happy to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and I'm eagerly looking forward to reading all three books by David Pirie.

Pirie, a longtime fan of Arthur Conan Doyle, writes the fictional memoir of Doyle's early experiences as a medical student of Joseph Bell's at the University of Edinburgh. Dr. Bell is widely believed to be the inspiration f
I was a little ways into this book when I realized it was, in part, the basis for an excellent film I viewed last year ("Dr. Bell and Mr. Doyle).

David Pirie's debut novel introduces Scots medical student Arthur Conan Doyle to his mentor Dr. Joseph Bell ... and several years later involves them both in a difficult case when Doyle receives a copy of one of his Sherlock Holmes stories with an address annotated in the middle of an illustration. The case closely parallels "The Speckled Band" in its p
Riju Ganguly
This epitome of apocryphal Sherlockiana (Doyle-iana?) has been reviewed at length by people more accomplished, and by professionals who know how to award marks as well as how to deduce them while reviewing a work. Alas, an ignoramus like me can only go ga-ga (not the Lady, of course) over something if he likes it, otherwise simply forget it and condemn the work (and often the author, as well) to the dungeon. This book belongs to the former category. I loved it, esp. the deeply disturbing images ...more
Sep 17, 2011 Mike rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
"The Patient's Eyes" is the first novel in a series about Arthur Conan Doyle. I inadvertently read the third novel ("The Dark Water") first and although I liked it well enough (4.0), I wanted to begin the series in proper order. The author previously wrote the screenplays for two BBC made for TV movies, "Murder Rooms" and "Murder Rooms: The Patient's Eyes" later shown on PBS in the US. The majority of his career has been as a critic and writer of mystery and horror (screenplays and films). In th ...more
It might have been a better idea for me to read more Sherlock Holmes stories before reading this fictional take on Arthur Conan Doyle and his supposed inspiration, Dr. Joseph Bell. I've read a handful, here and there, over the years, so I recognized Holmes' famed methodology in Bell, but I do wonder if I missed any references due to not being more well-read. I should have read my two complete volumes of Sherlock Holmes stories first, but those are packed away in storage, and this book was sittin ...more
It's not about Holmes. Wait, oh, it sort of is...??? OK then. It's not as Holmsey as you think, it's more uh Doylinian and Belian...(I made that up on the fly) but it's got Holmes sprinkled in with it. Props to the author for taking a different route then the lousy, burned crispy pastiche, but then again, some parts of it were like Sherlock Holmes looped on replay, given the new name of Bell, cut straight out of the original canon. There's a scene with a cyclist pretty much the same as the solit ...more
Combines elements from different Holmes stories and puts them in new settings, together with new material, so that even a reader thoroughly familiar with the original stories is hard pressed to predict the solution to each mystery. If anything, their fresh setting heightens the frisson of pleasurable recognition over each transplanted element.

With the device of presenting stories about Bell and Doyle rather than Holmes and Watson, Pirie is free to jettison the parts of the duo's personalities th
überraschendes Ende aber sonst hat mich das Buch nicht wirklich begeistert
Jen Marett
I really liked this book. Sherlock Holmes is my guy so my standards are pretty high. Interesting take on Arthur Conan Doyle and his relationship with Doctor Bell (the supposed mentor for Sherlock.) Twist at the end caught me off guard too.
The Patient's Eyes is a dark crime novel about a young and down on his luck Arthur Conan Doyle and his mentor Joseph Bell, the real life Sherlock Holmes. Both form a duo that is at once like and quite different from Holmes and Watson, thus offering a fresh take on well known characters. The book is of course full of Sherlockian bits and pieces, with a good measure of Edgar Allan Poe thrown in.

Doyle himself could have been written by Poe: melancholic and traumatised by things that happened while
A fairly enjoyable read, but not one that I feel will stick with me. I'm trying to put my finger on what exactly I didn't love about the book.

I think the main problem for me was pacing. This book is the first in a series, and it seems that the story is told in a strange order. Doyle and Bell meet, Doyle becomes his clerk, and then suddenly several years have gone by. Doyle is constantly referring to a terrible case that occurred somewhere in that intervening time, but he never gives us more than
David Pirie, the author, claims that Arthur Conan Doyle based the charactor of Sherlock Holmes on a real person, Dr. Joseph Bell. This book features Doyle and Bell as the main characters.
When the impoverished young Arthur Doyle opens his first medical practice, 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 bicyclist, who vanishe
Enveloped in the Sherlock mode, for certain, as the story unfolds slowly and eventfully with puzzles and ciphers and surprises. Characters are truly interesting, so I look forward to reading the next in this series. I have it at another location, so will have to wait until the weekend to dive back into Pirie's excellent, moody writing. I shan't bother describing the premise as this is not a book new on the scene. I am just late in finding it.
Nov 16, 2015 Marina marked it as on-hold  ·  review of another edition
I've tried reading this and got in maybe 30 pages but the writing is so stilted and keeps jumping back and forth that I can't couldn't concentrate. Perhaps I'll revisit this series in the future.
LGayle Gustafson
This novel begins with a disclaimer that not much is known about the early life of Sir Conan Doyle, and goes on to provide Pirie's imagined details. Has anyone read a biography of Sir Conan Doyle? I think it would be fascinating to obtain facts, then observe where Pirie has added his own padding. Much of the novel pertains to a particular patient Doyle treats. Pirie uses a professor of Doyle's (Dr. Bell - real? imagined by Pirie?) to provide instruction in the method we see in Doyle's Sherlock H ...more
Mar 19, 2008 Olivia rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Sherlock Holmes fans, mystery readers
There are hundreds and hundreds of badly written Sherlock Holmes knock-offs out there. This is not one of them. Pirie is a brilliant writer, and has effectively created a novel that feels authentic and true. This is written as if my Doyle, telling the "secrets" of his life before writing Holmes. It's so good that you often find yourself catching echoes of Holmes stories and thinking, "Oh, that's where he got the idea for that story!" Then you suddenly realize, "oh, wiat, this is fiction!" I can' ...more
Diane Heath
Was not sure what to expect but this was an interesting take on a Holmes style mystery. Arthur Conan Doyle is Watson to Joseph Bell as Holmes. (Bell being the inspiration for Holmes according to Doyle).
liked it more than I expected to. It's been a while since I read my Holmes, so there were nagging bits that I was sure I was meant to recognize, as well as the blatantly obvious one. Ending was a bit disappointing, as I'd kind of anticipated it. Overall a fun read
Okay, so I am a pretty big Sherlock Holmes fan. I've read every one of the Sherlock Holmes "books" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. For the most part they are a fun read. And, for the most part I liked this book, it's just that for quite a bit of it I felt as though I was just re-reading certain Holmes books, so I feel like there's just not a lot of originality to the stories. That all being said, I want to know more of the backstory (they just give you little teases of it) so I will probably read the ...more
well, I finished it. but mostly because it was a gift. the ending did catch me by surprise and I liked it. case-wise.
what I didn't like was the narrator. he was too whiny for me. not to mention the constant hints at his past that were way too consistent for something that doesn't get resolved.
Also, the whole plot felt like a fanfiction. By trying to make references to cases Doyle later made Homes have, the author only made these facts feel redundant and stolen.
Lana Kamennof-sine
David Pirie has done a most commendable job. He writes of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's days as a med student at Edinburgh University and as a newly minted physician. Moreover he writes about Dr Bell the man claimed to be the model for Holmes.
It's a skillfully written book that catches you up & takes you on a journey of discovery. It challenges the gray matter too with codes and considerations.
Looking forward to reading others by Pirie.
Die Meinungen gehen hier auseinander - entweder man liebt es oder man hasst es. Ich gehöre zur ersteren Fraktion.
Der Einstieg erschient mir etwas holprig, aber dann ist die Geschichte spannend und mitreißend geschrieben. Man kann zwar Vermutungen hegen, aber die Geschichte ist derart gut konstruiert, dass man nicht gelangweilt wird und weiter miträtseln kann. Ich hoffe, das folgende Buch ist ähnlich gut!
This book drove me nuts. The plot was so familiar, but I knew I hadn’t read it before. Then it hit me. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote a very similar story entitled The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist in 1904. Pirie takes Doyle’s premise and runs with it. I hope all his books aren’t going to be a rip-off of the Master’s work.
I know I rarely read fiction that was written more recently, but I was searching for some historical fiction with some medical themes (hard to find anything) and this caught my eye. I was pleasantly surprised! Fast-paced with some fun tie-ins from Holmes stories, with some references to Frankenstein and Poe that made my day.
Mar 28, 2008 Carol rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Holmes lovers
Arthur Conan Doyle and his mentor, and maybe real life inspiration for Sherlock Holmes, are the main characters in this novel. It is Doyle writing his memories of meeting Dr. Bell and one of their earlier adventures. I thought the story was very atmospheric and the ending totally surprised me.
M.k. Yost
It's not Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson... and yet it is. Arthur Conan Doyle and his mentor, Dr Joseph Bell are on the case. Combining historical fact with great storytelling, and a twist you won't see coming, Pirie definitely keeps the reader going because they want to know more.
I loved this. The narration was first-rate, the story was really interesting and I fell into several traps along the way. I recommend it to anyone who loves Holmes. Oh! And it scared me in that good-creepy-way, not the need-a-therapist way.
There have been many attempts to emulate Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes tales—some better than others, none quite up to the original.

David Pirie, a screenwriter, has approached the subject from another angle. See my complete review on Amazon.
It was interesting to think of the Dr. Joseph Bell character in this series was the forerunner for the Sherlock Holmes character. There were many similarities.

There was a jaw-dropping conclusion.
This was a nice little mystery, though I'm sure I would've gotten more out of it if I had read any Sherlock Holmes, or at least seen the movie, but it was still good with an ending I didn't see coming.
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David Pirie was a journalist and film critic before he became a screenwriter. Just a few of his numerous credits are the BAFTA nominated adaptation for the BBC of The Woman in White and his collaboration with Lars Von Trier on the script of the Oscar nominated film Breaking the Waves. David Pirie lives in Somerset.
More about David Pirie...

Other Books in the Series

Arthur Conan Doyle and Dr. Joseph Bell (3 books)
  • The Night Calls
  • The Dark Water: The Strange Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes

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