By William Hjortsberg
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini crew as much as look for a literary-minded killer
It is 1923 and a gorgeous younger lady has simply been came upon outdoors a tenement, bones overwhelmed, head ripped from her shoulders. a couple of tales above, her squalid house has been ransacked, and twenty-dollar gold items muddle the ground. The window body is smashed. She turns out to were hurled from the development by way of a beast of very unlikely power, and the single witness claims to have visible 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 manhattan urban, imitating the murders that made Poe’s tales so well-known. To Harry Houdini and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the killing spree is of simply educational curiosity. but if Poe’s ghost seems in Doyle’s inn room, the author and the magician start to suspect that the murders may possibly carry a clue to figuring out demise itself.
Set in 1923 in ny urban, this droll and beautiful 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 solid of millions, the motion turns merrily round the Victorian obsession with spiritualism and its vestigial carryover into the Flapper period.
The narrative includes a chain of Ripperlike murders that recreate the macabre tales of Poe. traveling the U.S. as advocates of spiritualism, Sir Arthur and girl Jean Doyle are reunited with Harry and Bess Houdini, neighbors because the magician's 1920 journey of serious Britain, the place he indulged his ardour for debunking spirit mediums. although either Conan Doyle and Houdini are drawn opposed to their wills into the furor created via the weird killings, and although either finally end up being stalked via the killer, they locate their hot if oddly antipathetic camaraderie strained whilst Houdini ridicules a personal seance given him through girl Jean. in the meantime, atop the record of suspects stands the enigmatic Isis, a beautiful clairvoyant who additionally has suffered by the hands of the cavalier Houdini. Hjortsberg retains issues relocating quickly all through this pleasing mystery, which, with its stellar characters and outlandish plot, may turn into his most well liked novel for the reason that Falling Angel.