William Hjortsberg

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini crew as much as look for a literary-minded killer

It is 1923 and a stunning younger girl has simply been came upon outdoor a tenement, bones beaten, head ripped from her shoulders. a number of tales above, her squalid residence has been ransacked, and twenty-dollar gold items clutter the ground. The window body is smashed. She turns out to were hurled from the development by means of a beast of very unlikely power, and the single witness claims to have noticeable a long-armed ape fleeing the scene. The police are baffled, yet one reporter acknowledges the writer of the bloody crime: the long-dead Edgar Allan Poe.

A psychopath is haunting big apple urban, imitating the murders that made Poe’s tales so recognized. To Harry Houdini and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the killing spree is of basically educational curiosity. but if Poe’s ghost seems to be in Doyle’s resort room, the author and the magician start to suspect that the murders could carry a clue to figuring out demise itself.


Set in 1923 in big apple urban, this droll and pleasing fantasy-part gothic secret, half Who's Who of the Jazz Age, half Perils of Pauline-reads like a collaboration among Mary Roberts Rinehart and Dorothy Parker. Fancifully peopled with the ghost of Edgar Allen Poe, well-known personages (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Harry Houdini, Damon Runyon) and a helping forged of hundreds of thousands, the motion turns merrily round the Victorian obsession with spiritualism and its vestigial carryover into the Flapper period.

The narrative consists of a sequence of Ripperlike murders that recreate the macabre tales of Poe. traveling the U.S. as advocates of spiritualism, Sir Arthur and woman Jean Doyle are reunited with Harry and Bess Houdini, associates because the magician's 1920 travel of significant Britain, the place he indulged his ardour for debunking spirit mediums. notwithstanding either Conan Doyle and Houdini are drawn opposed to their wills into the furor created via the unusual killings, and even though either finally end up being stalked by way of the killer, they locate their hot if oddly antipathetic camaraderie strained while Houdini ridicules a personal seance given him via girl Jean. in the meantime, atop the checklist of suspects stands the enigmatic Isis, a beautiful clairvoyant who additionally has suffered by the hands of the cavalier Houdini. Hjortsberg retains concerns relocating rapidly all through this wonderful mystery, which, with its stellar characters and outlandish plot, may perhaps become his hottest novel due to the fact that Falling Angel.

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