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Customer reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
The Night Calls (Murder Rooms 2)
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on 8 February 2010
Good book, in a very good shape, quickly sent. Thank you!The Night Calls (Murder Rooms 2)
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on 15 June 2011
After the exceptionally well-crafted The Patient's Eyes: The Dark Beginnings of Sherlock Holmes (Murder Rooms), this second book of the 'Murder Rooms' trilogy is a slight let-down. Chronologically speaking, the events happening in this book precede those in "The Patient's Eyes", and describe the following: -

* although the events that had first brought Arthur Conan Doyle into the world of Dr. Joseph Bell had been described in the 1st book, the events that had followed that 'introductory' phase, are all here;
* the deep scar left by Arthur Conan Doyle's nemesis, who went on to become the template for Professor Moriarty;
* episodes in the Dr. Bell's crime-solving episodes, one of which surprisingly ends in placing Doyle face-to-face his nemesis, in a cliffhanger ending.

As usual, it is a great fun for Sherlockian aficionados trying to find out as many references to the 'Canon' (yet to come, in a much diluted version, since Doyle must have been trying very hard to evade the shadows accompanying all those memories) as possible. But the book, while succeeding in creating a gothic atmosphere of palpable evil (a precursor of the events in Whitechapel in 1888-91?), does not do justice to Dr. Bell's detective skills as much we have started expecting. Nevertheless, heartily recommended.
One person found this helpful
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on 2 October 2003
David Pirie's excellent novel, "The Night Calls," features a young Arthur Doyle, who is a medical student, and his mentor, Dr. Joseph Bell. Bell's sharp powers of observation and clever methods of detection were an inspiration for Doyle's fictional character, Sherlock Holmes.
It is the late 1800's in Edinburgh, Scotland. Arthur Doyle and Dr. Joseph Bell combine their resources to investigate a series of grisly assaults on women. Ultimately, Bell fears that the assaults are the work of an unhinged individual whose crimes may soon escalate to murder. It turns out that Bell's fears are well founded. Their antagonist is a sadist who has tremendous intelligence, imagination, cruelty, and daring.
With his skilled description and vivid characterizations, Pirie has done a marvelous job of capturing the mood of the times. He tackles several feminist themes, including the discrimination that faced young ladies who wished to attend medical school, and the wretched exploitation of impoverished women who sold their virtue in order to survive.
The characters of Bell and Doyle and sharp and well-drawn. Bell's incisive mind, no-nonsense approach, and tenacity when faced with a difficult problem are indeed reminiscent of the great Sherlock Holmes. The central villain of the piece is a vile individual who will make your blood run cold.
Pirie includes several intriguing subplots, including one about a chauvinistic and cruel husband and another about an arrogant scientist who believes that the ends of scientific discovery justify unethical means. "The Night Calls" is a chilling, fascinating, and expertly written novel, and I recommend it highly.
2 people found this helpful
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on 15 August 2011
Arthur Conan Doyle and Dr Bell investigate a mysterious series of attacks against women.

This starts well and there is a suitably uneasy atmosphere. Characterisation is decent although Doyle is irritating. Unfortunately as the book goes on it all falls apart. The prose for the most part is very dull, especially the descriptive passages. It just doesn't go anywhere. There were no surprises here, the revelation at the end could be seen coming a mile away. As with 'The Patient's Eye' this book infuriatingly ends on a cllffhanger. Had this been a better read, this wouldn't matter so much but I was left feeling cheated and unsatisfied.
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on 13 July 2007
I got through this book by gritting my teeth. Why I put myself through the thankless task is the true mystery of this novel of suspense. A mystery compounded by the fact that there is no resolution at the end - just a referal to the next volume in The Murder Room Series and I won't be reading that any day soon - make that never. I have never felt so conned.

It's an odd book. The narrator is an irritating, petulant twerp who constantly lets his emotions rule his behaviour and I quickly lost any sympathy for him. The novel is within shouting distance of a resolution half way through but the author then spins the novel out and on to its detriment.

The second half of the novel turns on an increasingly preposterous series of coincidences that would put Amistad Maupin to shame. The predictability of the ensuing events is equally annoying. As for the "surprise" at the end? What surprise - I could see it a mile away!

The author's notes makes it clear that he was inspired to write this particular novel due to a coincidence he discovered in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's background history - that he had studied medicine alongside a notorious serial killer - but he took that idea and just got carried away. The "idea" didn't warrent a second (or third?) novel. In deed, it didn't deserve one novel of this length. The first half could have been developed into one interesting, self-contained novel but it wasn't and more's the pity.

All in all, an unsatisfactory read.
3 people found this helpful
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on 16 June 2009
For Sherlock Holmes fans, this is the best of the trilogy in my opinion. A different angle on our famous detective and his sidekick, and a thought provoking one.
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