Rainer Maria Rilke

"Live a while in these books, learn from them what seems to you worth learning, but above all love them. This love will be repaid you a thousand and a thousand times, and however your life may turn,-it will, I am certain of it, run through the fabric of your growth as one of the most important threads among all the threads of your experiences, disappointments, and joys."--Rainer Maia Rilke


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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Literary Triple Play

Nevermore by William Hjortsberg
(Adult Mystery/Fantasy)

What other book has a line-up like this?  On first base, Harry Houdini; rounding third, Arthur Conan Doyle and batting on deck the ghost of Edgar Allen Poe.  While my baseball lingo leaves a bit to be desired, this book is has a line-up most teams would bankrupt themselves for.

The main character is Harry Houdini.  Yep, that Harry Houdini.  Houdini, along with his friend Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (yep, that Conan Doyle), are on the case of a series of murders that mimic the mystery and horror stories of Edgar Allen Poe.  While Houdini makes one mean detective, Doyle has a bit of an inside track when the ghost of Edgar Allen Poe mysteriously visits him and gives him some elusive hints about solving the murders. 

Much of this story is based on actual historic fact (such as the magic of Houdini and his tricks; Houdini's debunking of mysticism; the popularity of Doyle and Mrs. Doyle conducting seances) and it was these facts that made the book so very appealing to me.  I loved delving into the part of the book and that period is just plain fascinating.  To read a book told through Houdini's, Doyle's and Poe's eyes was the most creative idea I've seen come along in a long time--pure brilliance!

If only the author would have stayed on that track instead of veering off into a fantasy that I didn't enjoy and didn't think the story needed.  Part way through, Houdini becomes romantically linked with a woman who stalks him into submission and doesn't really add to the mystery at all.  If the book would just totally leave out that whole character, it would be amazing.  The plot idea and writing was so strong, so captivating.....

As it was, still an enjoyable read but falls short of a home run.

This book is available at Amazon as an ebook or by visiting the publisher weblink below:

http://www.openroadmedia.com/books/nevermore.aspx#bookDetail)

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