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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fast, Suspensful, Good Characterization
Other non-Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle have left me wishing he'd just stuck to Holmes. Not this one.

In this story, Doyle does not try to incorporate the deductive reasoning of Holmes, and he has created a very believable and interesting character who tells the story from the first person. "I" is not only hypnotized by a woman but his mind is at...
Published on March 23, 2010 by Louie Louie

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not one of Doyle's Better Works
Conan Doyle started firmly believing in Sprirtualism late in his life and this story may have been an attempt to make people aware of it. The story is a typical Victorian novel using antiquated words which needs constantly looking up in a dictionary. It is not one of Conan Doyle's better works. It lacks imagination, wit and character development but there's only so much...
Published on July 7, 2012 by John Albatross


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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fast, Suspensful, Good Characterization, March 23, 2010
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This review is from: The Parasite (Kindle Edition)
Other non-Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle have left me wishing he'd just stuck to Holmes. Not this one.

In this story, Doyle does not try to incorporate the deductive reasoning of Holmes, and he has created a very believable and interesting character who tells the story from the first person. "I" is not only hypnotized by a woman but his mind is at times completely taken over by her. She even forces him to pledge his love for her. Through sheer force of will, he is able to counter her control but never for long. After he tells her that he hates her, she makes him do and say things that make him look like a lunatic. And then...

Short. Fun to read. And like I said, this story works because it really is a departure from the Holmes character and doesn't need Holmes to make it work.

What can I say but I liked it?
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well off Conan Doyle's beaten track ... horror with a Victorian flair!, August 25, 2010
By 
Paul Weiss (Dundas, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Parasite (Paperback)
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is, of course, best known for his Sherlock Holmes and Professor Challenger characters. What is much less well known is that Doyle was fascinated with spiritualism and the paranormal. Indeed, his fascination may well be categorized as a morbid obsession to find proof of existence beyond the grave dating from depression which began after the death of his wife, Louisa, in 1906. Doyle's readers, at least, can be pleased with the results. His futile efforts at quasi-scientific exploration of paranormal phenomena provided fodder for an enormous number of short stories and novellas that could hardly be more different from the focused attention on data and facts - it only counts if it can be seen, felt, observed and measured - that is seen in the Sherlock Holmes canon. These little known stories, exemplified by THE PARASITE, can best be categorized within the horror genre.

Austin Gilroy, a physiologist, is a realist and is firm in his belief that the paranormal is hokum. On the other hand, his friend, Professor Wilson is a dyed-in-the-wool true believer and, with a view to convincing his skeptical friend, introduces him to a "skilled" psychic, Miss Penclosa. Despite his rejection of her amorous advances, Gilroy is maddened to discover that he is falling under the power of Penclosa's abilities and that he is being forced into the humiliating position of unwilling and subservient love slave to Miss Penclosa. And he is positively horrified to realize that he is contemplating the mutilation and murder of his current fiancée with a vial of sulphuric acid.

THE PARASITE is an enjoyable novella that can be comfortably devoured in a single sitting and atmospheric literature that exemplifies Victorian behaviour and beliefs. The story itself, while hardly up to the grisly standards of 21st century horror, is typically open-ended and, like so many Twilight Zone episodes, leaves the reader with a pleasant feeling that all is not as it seems and any number of possible resolutions might be imagined.

Highly recommended if you'd like to sample some Arthur Conan Doyle writing that is well off the beaten track! Those readers interested in pursuing more of the same might explore the anthologies ROUND THE FIRE STORIES and THE HORROR OF THE HEIGHTS.

Paul Weiss
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Psychic Horror from Conan Doyle, January 1, 2012
By 
Elliot (Irvine, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Parasite (Kindle Edition)
Aside from the Sherlock Holmes stories, Arthur Conan Doyle also wrote a series of science fiction novels around the character of Prof. Challenger. This novella is part of neither series, but is worth checking out. A suspenseful horror story of psychic possession, it prefigures (by about 90 years!) the "mind vampires" of Dan Simmons' Carrion Comfort.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not one of Doyle's Better Works, July 7, 2012
This review is from: The Parasite (Paperback)
Conan Doyle started firmly believing in Sprirtualism late in his life and this story may have been an attempt to make people aware of it. The story is a typical Victorian novel using antiquated words which needs constantly looking up in a dictionary. It is not one of Conan Doyle's better works. It lacks imagination, wit and character development but there's only so much an author can do in 56 pages.

SPOILER:
The worst part about this story is the ending. It is one of the biggest anti-climaxes I have come across. It would be so very convenient for all heroes if the villian just up and died. That's what happens in this story. The villian simply dies of exhaustion and everything becomes alright. It is probable that Conan was working under size restrictions but a writer of such great works as Sherlock Holmes should have tried harder.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Parasite, April 16, 2012
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This review is from: The Parasite (Kindle Edition)
The Parasite is one of the best stories I have read by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle that is not of the Sherlock Holmes variety. Professor Gilroy, who considers himself a realist, is pursuaded by one of his associates to see a clairvoyant mystic character in action; sort of a scientific experiment. It gets out of hand and the professor finds he has taken on more than he can handle. She has him under her spell and it quickly goes down hill. The story is told in such a wonderful way that you find yourself almost pleding with the main character to get hold of himself, to stop what he is doing and run away. Suspenseful; holds your interest from start to finish. And the ending may surprise you as well. 5 stars! I don't usually give that high a rating; this is a good one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars None, December 6, 2011
This review is from: The Parasite (Kindle Edition)
A superb example of how to build suspense and horror in a story. This is probably the best of the non Sherlock Holmes stories.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good Book, July 14, 2014
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This review is from: The Parasite (Kindle Edition)
Never having read this book before, I was unsure of what to expect. I found that this is quite a captivating book that leave the reader not wanting to put it down. Would recommend for someone who has a bit of time to kill...you won't want to put this down!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Psychological horror by a master writer., June 26, 2014
By 
Chris Graham (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Parasite (Paperback)
I recommend anyone who likes Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories to read his others as well and get the full benefit of his writing talent.
This story is a good example of his style being turned to another genre, that of psychological horror, using mesmerism (hypnotism) which was suspect and feared in those days.
Consider the ending thoroughly and discover the horror aspect for yourself.
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4.0 out of 5 stars She's messing with my head, April 3, 2014
By 
Karl Janssen (Olathe, KS United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Parasite (Kindle Edition)
When he wasn’t writing Sherlock Holmes detective tales, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was cranking out all manner of short stories and novels in the genres of science fiction, mystery, horror, historical adventure, and what might best be described as medical fiction. Conan Doyle, being a physician himself, obviously had an interest in science, but he was also fascinated by the occult. Somewhere betwixt those two areas of interest lies the realm of parapsychology and his short novel of 1894, The Parasite. Though the title may lead one to believe the book is a medical thriller, the host for this particular parasite is actually mental rather than physical. The Parasite is a suspenseful tale of mind control by mesmerism.

Austin Gilroy is a young professor of physiology who places immense value in the certainty of scientific fact. His colleague Professor Wilson, however, who studies the relatively newborn field of psychology, is more open to the possibility of unexplained phenomena. Wilson invites Gilroy to his home to witness a demonstration of mesmerism by the mysterious Miss Penclosa. Gilroy skeptically volunteers to be entranced by Penclosa, and to his surprise she is actually capable of doing so. He decides to research the physical science behind mesmerism, and asks Miss Penclosa to perform a series of experiments with him. After several sessions in which she hypnotizes him, Gilroy begins to realize that she has a powerful psychic hold over him. He is horrified to discover that she is in love with him and intends to make him her slave. Since this woman is capable of controlling him just as a puppeteer directs the actions of a marionette, how will he ever escape her evil clutches?

The Parasite is a fun gender-bending variation on the countless tales of helpless women forced into the harem of a domineering svengali. In this case it’s the man who must fear for the loss of his precious virtue. Perhaps Conan Doyle’s novel is an expression of a late 19th-century fear of powerful, independent women. If Gilroy’s antagonist were a male, he would have more options available for retaliation, such as violence or public denunciation. Since his nemesis is a woman, however, his is bound by Victorian era societal codes on how to deal with the fairer sex, no matter how evil they may be. Conan Doyle’s hands are unfortunately tied by these same codes, which may be what prevents him from capping the story off with a satisfying finale.

Though this is a positive review overall, I must offer a warning to the reader: the ending of this story absolutely sucks. How do you rate a work that is 99% entertaining when it’s ruined by its final sentence? Looking on the bright side, the disappointment inspired by the weak conclusion does not negate the suspenseful ride it took to get there. The Parasite really is a fun psychological thriller that keeps you guessing as to what’s going to happen next. This premise and plot could easily be made into an exciting Hollywood blockbuster, if only someone would come up with an ending that finishes it with a bang rather than a fizzle.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed it!, January 19, 2014
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This review is from: The Parasite (Kindle Edition)
Read it almost in one sitting. I would read more from this author. I would give this author four stars.
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The Parasite
The Parasite by Arthur Conan Doyle (Hardcover - January 1, 2004)
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