Review ~ The Dark Water

This book was provided to me by Pegasus Classics via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Dark Water by David Pirie

Cover via Goodreads

In a literary tour de force worthy of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself, author David Pirie brings his rich familiarity with both the Doyle biography and the Sherlock Holmes canon to a mystifying Victorian tale of vengeance and villainy. The howling man on the heath, a gothic asylum, the walking dead, the legendary witch of Dunwich-perils lurk in every turn of the page throughout this ingenious pastiche, as increasingly bizarre encounters challenge the deductive powers of young Doyle and his mentor, the pioneering criminal investigator Dr. Joseph Bell. (via Goodreads)

I did not finish this book. At 30%, I had not found much of anything lurking in the pages. I also have not read Pirie’s first two Arthur Conan Doyle books. I have watched Murder Rooms, the series created by David Pirie based somewhat on the novels. Murder Rooms is a good show, fairly well-paced and full of nods to the real Arthur Conan Doyle’s history and fictional works. The show offers many nice parallels to a Sherlock Holmes story. I was expecting the same of this novel.

The Dark Water starts after what was, presumably, the cliffhanger ending of the previous book. Doyle wakes after being poisoned, locked in cottage, his tormenter the man who murdered his lady-love Elsbeth. Doyle’s escape should be fraught with tension. Instead, he just, kind of, does. He meets up with his mentor Dr. Bell and then another 20% of book goes by with not much happening.

The Doyle character isn’t a particularly interesting narrator.  Honestly, he’s a bit dull. Watson is a dull narrator too, but he’s not narrating his own stories. Although he’s our first-person narrator, Watson gives the foreground to Holmes. Dr. Bell isn’t the dynamic figure that Holmes is and this isn’t Bell’s story. If a first person POV is used, shouldn’t that character either have the most unique voice in the story, or get out of the way?

It could be that this a good book, and it takes a while to get going. I picked it up and put it down several times before I got to 30%, but it never caught on with me.

Genre: Mystery
Why did I choose to read this book? Like Sherlock Holmes
Did I finish this book? (If not, why?) No. It’s amount of tension never varied. Doyle’s wasn’t an interesting voice.
Format: Kindle ebook
Procurement: NetGalley

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