Thursday, March 13, 2014

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini in the Adventure of the Spook House

Thanks to the author, C. Michael Forsyth, I had a chance to read this very, very interesting book. And I have to say, I am quite impressed.

The book is thoroughly well-researched and cleverly written. As the title suggests, it follows the thrilling adventure of Sir Arthur and Houdini as they embark on a mission to America to solve a seemingly supernatural mystery. Sir Arthur is in his spiritualism days, and Houdini is determined to be grounded in reality. The portrayal of both protagonists (as well the supporting characters – though I will not get into details about them; no spoilers!) and the dynamics of their interaction is highly enjoyable – the easy camaraderie of their friendship, the friction of their heated arguments, the (occasional) self-righteousness on both sides…all of it is meticulously planned and executed by the author. The author’s attention to details is commendable – I can only imagine the amount of work it would have taken!

Anyway, since I must not give away any spoilers, I am simply presenting three brief, benign extracts from the book – these are my favourite bits, obviously:

Extract #1:

"Doctor Stratton, I am of course flattered that you'd seek me out," said the author. "But as I'm sure you are aware, I am not Sherlock Holmes nor do I have a means of contacting him, much to the disappointment of the many female admirers who've asked me to forward correspondence."

Extract #2:

Conan Doyle flung open the door and in strode a tall, rail-thin man in a long gray cape and deerstalker hat, grinning broadly. The hawk-like nose, the piercing black eyes darting about and assessing the room—there was no mistaking who stood before them.

"Sherlock Holmes! Well, this is a welcome surprise," Conan Doyle shouted in delight. "My son returns to me. A prodigal one but a sight for sore eyes nonetheless."

The famous man took off his cap and tossed it onto a rack by the door.

"Yes, but you haven't been half as sporting to me as the fellow in the Bible, have you? As I recall, you tossed me off a waterfall once."

"Yet you're none the worse for wear," Conan Doyle chuckled genially and gave the other's hand a robust shake. "I fear it was you or me. If I hadn't bumped you off, I'd have taken a spoonful of strychnine myself to preserve my sanity."

Extract #3:

Houdini smiled. "Thanks for the compliment, but I think long after the world has forgotten Houdini, your Sherlock Holmes will be around and kicking."

Isn’t that intriguing? Doesn't it make you itch to get hold of the book?

All in all, a most enjoyable read – and if you are fond of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini – kindly proceed to the bookshops and get hold of the book immediately! You are in for a treat!

Further details can be found at the author’s website:

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