The detective team of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Dr. Joseph Bell star in this “ingenious” historical mystery (The New York Times Book Review).
As many fans of Sherlock Holmes know, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle found inspiration for the great fictional detective in a brilliant Scottish surgeon named Joseph Bell. In an era when science was not often considered in the course of criminal investigations, Bell’s emphasis on observation and deduction made him a pioneer in forensics.
In The Dark Water, Holmes’s creator joins forces with Dr. Bell to take on Victorian vagabonds, criminal masterminds, and all manner of mysteries. The pair relentlessly pursues the vicious killer Thomas Neill Cream—and visits a sleepy seaside town where a seventeenth-century legend known as the Dunwich witch has taken on new life.
With “a gripping plot and psychologically sophisticated characters” (Publishers Weekly, starred review), The Dark Water is a thrilling, atmospheric adventure for historical mystery lovers, offering “an intellectual treat and a downright guilty pleasure” (The Washington Post).
Pirie's third novel, like its predecessors, The Patient's Eyes and The Night Calls, evokes the spirit of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories with a gripping plot and psychologically sophisticated characters. Again, Doyle plays the Watson role to the Holmes of Dr. Joseph Bell, the real-life inspiration for the master detective. Doyle is a complex, wounded figure, still struggling with the loss of his beloved at the hands of a madman, Dr. Thomas Neill Cream. Cream has confined Doyle to an isolated cabin at the story's outset, but the prisoner manages a desperate escape and soon is able to reconnect with his mentor and partner. In pursuit of their ingenious quarry, Doyle and Bell face an eerie mystery in a small seaside town haunted by the apparent reappearance of a legendary witch. Pirie's subtle storytelling gifts, which may remind ghost story aficionados of M.R. James and Sherlockians of The Hound of the Baskervilles, elevate this novel far above the run-of-the-mill pastiche.