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 stunning younger lady has simply been discovered open air a tenement, bones beaten, head ripped from her shoulders. a number of tales above, her squalid house has been ransacked, and twenty-dollar gold items clutter the ground. The window body is smashed. She turns out to were hurled from the construction via 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 ny 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 appears to be like in Doyle’s lodge room, the author and the magician start to suspect that the murders may perhaps carry a clue to figuring out demise itself.
Set in 1923 in ny urban, this droll and attractive 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 contains a sequence 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 travel of serious 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 weird killings, and although either finish 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 by way of woman Jean. in the meantime, atop the checklist of suspects stands the enigmatic Isis, a lovely clairvoyant who additionally has suffered by the hands of the cavalier Houdini. Hjortsberg retains issues relocating in a timely fashion all through this wonderful mystery, which, with its stellar characters and outlandish plot, may well become his most well-liked novel on account that Falling Angel.