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Hjortsberg, William.

ISBN 10: 0871135795 / ISBN 13: 9780871135797
Published by ATLANTIC MONTHLY PRESS., NY, 1994
Condition: Near Fine Hardcover
From WAVERLEY BOOKS ABAA (Santa Monica, CA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

First Edition. SIGNED by William Hjortsberg on title page. Near fine in fine dust jacket. (Top edge slightly foxed. ) Features Houdini, Conan Doyle & the spirit of Poe. Bookseller Inventory # 312144

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Bibliographic Details



Publication Date: 1994

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Near Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: First Edition; First Printing.

About this title


In his first novel since the classic Falling Angel, William Hjortsberg returns to the labyrinthine world of mystery and horrific murder he has made uniquely his own.
Set in 1920s New York City, at the dawn of the Jazz Age, Nevermore opens with the shocking discovery of a brutal double murder in a Hell's Kitchen tenement. The seemingly random attack baffles the police, but as the murder rate escalates, each new crime more grotesque and elaborate than the last, a shocking pattern takes shape. From the bloodcurdling screams of a one-eyed cat atop a decomposing corpse to a bottle-blond floating in the Hudson River, the unknown killer meticulously recreates grisly scenes out of the pages of Edgar Allan Poe's fiction - crimes that until now existed only in the famed author's macabre imagination.
Meanwhile, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the brilliant creator of Sherlock Holmes, while touring America to promote the Spiritualism in which he passionately believes, finds himself plagued by visits from Poe's ghost. His unlikely friend Harry Houdini, the world-renowned magician (who takes personal and professional pleasure in debunking mediums - all the while secretly yearning for contact with the beloved soul of his deceased mother), may in fact be the murderer's true target. Both men fall under the spell of Opal Crosby Fletcher, a beautiful and seductive high-society clairvoyant. Convinced she is the reincarnation of Isis, the ancient Egyptian fertility goddess, she truly appears to have the startling ability to contact inhabitants of the spirit world. Opal knows entirely too much about the nature of the crimes, and she haunts Houdini's dreams in ways that are not entirely spiritual.
As the noose tightens around Houdini, he is bound together with Sir Arthur and Opal in a thrilling knot of maniacal terror. Forces beyond their comprehension conspire to destroy all three, sweeping them into a bloody vortex of vengeance, madness, and death.

From Kirkus Reviews:

A carefully researched thriller that provides many fascinating details about celebrities of the Jazz Age but fails miserably and completely to provide any suspense. The novel has three protagonists: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the British creator of Sherlock Holmes, who is on a US tour to promote the spiritualist practices in which he ardently believes; Harry Houdini, the masterful escape artist, magician, and debunker of mediums; and Mrs. Opal Fletcher, a.k.a. Isis, a wealthy widow and clairvoyant to the elite. Doyle and Houdini are great friends and together resolve to find the serial murderer who patterns his killings on the grisliest death described in the fiction of Edgar Allan Poe. But Hjortsberg is not interested in spinning a good detective yarn. He hardly ever shows the pair sleuthing, and when he does, their efforts seem elementary and uninspired. Even Poe's ghost, who appears to Doyle regularly, can't get the men out of their easy chairs and into some serious action--physical or mental. It doesn't help that the author can't decide who the real hero of the story is; both men seem equally inept, while the murderer is determined, methodical, and obvious to the reader from the start. Houdini's love affair with Isis starts off titillatingly (she uses an ivory dildo filled with warm milk to bring him to a heightened, prolonged orgasm) but withers almost immediately, since the author denies him any sense of involvement with the woman or their child. All the characters wander through this fact-filled, name-dropping plot in a stupor, as if they--like the killer's victims--had chloroformed bags pulled over their heads. Hjortsberg is the author of seven previous novels (Falling Angel, 1978, etc.) and a number of screenplays. Practice does not always make perfect. (First printing of 75,000; $65,000 ad/promo) -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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