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This chilling novel set in post–World War I London, traverses the strange and often frightening intersection between Spiritualism and early psychiatry, featuring a murderous psychiatrist named Dr. Bernard Gussmann, whose occult experiments include a dark practice he dubs “subgnostic possession.” Spiritualists of the day included the famous author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who here has an opportunity to legitimize his unusual beliefs when he receives what seems to be a letter from the supposedly long-dead doctor extending an offer Doyle cannot refuse: communing with the deceased in exchange for a small favor. Doyle must bring any one of three people named in the letter to visit a woman in prison awaiting execution for murder. Each is a former patient of Gussmann’s. Is the letter a hoax? Is Dr. Gussmann really somehow still alive? Doyle seeks help from his American journalist friend, Charles Baker, who teams up with Adrianna Wallace, wife of a prominent Member of Parliament. As the trio uncover the backgrounds of the three people listed in the letter and follow the ethereal track of Gussmann, they soon learn that they are accomplices to a deadly game of musical chairs.
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Dennis Burges teaches English at Longwood University in Virginia.From Publishers Weekly:
A former American spy joins forces with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1922 London in this period mystery. Charles Baker, an American fresh from clandestine service in the Great War, is working the London desk for the Associated Press when he finds himself discreetly retained by none other than Sir Arthur, whose increasing obsession with spiritualism (communication with the dead) has eroded his popularity. Doyle has received a letter from someone who claims to be the late Dr. Bernard Gussmann, a psychologist who had treated Doyle's disturbed father. The letter contains information about a previous meeting with Doyle that only he could possibly have known about. Is he contacting Doyle from the grave? The letter also mysteriously requests that Doyle put one of three people in contact with a certain woman who's serving time in prison. Fearing even more public humiliation, Doyle hires Baker to look into the letter. Baker's investigation is hampered by his friendship with Adrianna Wallace, the much younger wife of gay MP Frederick Wallace. Adrianna has an "arrangement" with Wallace, according to which they are each able to satisfy their sexual needs without incurring scandal, which is exactly what threatens to envelop Baker the more time he spends with Adrianna. But Baker finds himself in more immediate danger after his interviews with the three people named in the letter. He winds up flat on his back nursing a bullet wound, with various former wards of Gussmann stalking him. What begins as a promising, atmospheric tale of interwar London slowly degenerates over the course of this overweight novel into a muddy hybrid of old Sherlock Holmes routines mixed with contemporary psych-horror schlock.
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Book Description Carroll & Graf, New York, N.Y., USA, 2003. Hardcover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. First Edition stated, no writing, marks, underlining, or bookplates. No remainder marks. Spine is tight and crisp. Boards are flat and true and the corners are square. Dust jacket is not price-clipped. This collectible, " NEW" condition first edition/first printing copy is protected with a polyester archival dust jacket cover. Beautiful collectible copy. GIFT QUALITY. Seller Inventory # 004062
Book Description Carroll & Graf, 2003. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0786712023
Book Description Carroll & Graf, 2003. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110786712023
Book Description Carroll & Graf, 2003. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0786712023