Archive for the ‘Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’ Tag

Arthur Conan Doyle & Houdini Solve Paranormal Mystery in Novel   3 comments

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My latest novel has just been published! In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle & Harry Houdini in The Adventure of the Spook House, the two extraordinary men team up to solve a paranormal mystery.

A brief synopsis:

The year is 1922. A respected judge inexplicably vanishes in a decrepit mansion and two of the world’s most remarkable men are summoned to investigate: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, and Harry Houdini, the world’s greatest escape artist.

Aided by a beautiful young psychic, the unlikely partners probe a mystery that becomes murkier and more perilous at every turn and brings them face to face with evil incarnate. To solve the riddle of The Spook House—and to survive its dangers—they must call upon all of their extraordinary mental and physical powers. The story draws upon the real-life friendship of Conan Doyle and Houdini, two vastly different men brought together by their fascination with the paranormal.

The book’s getting a great response. And folks from the many Sherlock Holmes societies and other fans of Conan Doyle are chafing at the bit to read it. Here’s what the first reviewer said:

“The Adventure of the Spook House is an exciting mystery full of twists, hair-breadth escapes and feats of derring-do. The author brings Conan Doyle and Houdini back to life as fully fleshed out characters who make splendid heroes. Thanks to Forsyth’s exhaustive research, the reader truly feels immersed in the 1920s. The novel captures the obsession with the supernatural that Conan Doyle shared with his friends like H.P. Lovecraft and my own great grand uncle Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula.”
—Dacre C. Stoker, co author Dracula the Un-Dead, Bram Stoker’s Lost Journal

I came up with the idea after stumbling across the intriguing fact that the two legendary figures were friends—and later bitter enemies—in real life. Writing the book took over a year of research, as I tried to capture the personalities of each historical figure as well as, of course, get the details about them and the time period right. I pored over their autobiographies, books on how Houdini managed his escapes and a huge volume of the more than 1,500 letters written by Conan Doyle’s letters. It really helped me to get a handle on how the author of the Sherlock Holmes stories thought and spoke.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, left, and Harry Houdini, were friends--and later enemies.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, left, and Harry Houdini, were friends–and later enemies.

I learned that each man was, in his own right, brilliant and remarkably athletic—perfectly suited for an adventure of this type. I would be hard pressed to think of a real-life writer and an entertainer who would make better heroes.

The official release date of the book is March 24, 2014 but advance copies of the paperback and Kindle editions are already available at Amazon.com. You can find all other eBook formats, including Nook, at Smashwords.com

ELEMENTARY MY DEAR COUNT DRACULA — The Horror Stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.   1 comment

Long before Boris Karloff appeared in "The Mummy," Sir. Arthur Conan Doyle wrote of a tragic, immortal Egyptian obsessed with an ancient love.

By C. Michael Forsyth

Every reader knows of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as the creator of Sherlock Holmes. Fewer are aware that he also invented Professor Challenger, whose visit to a plateau frozen in prehistory in The Lost World was a forerunner to Jurassic Park.

But hardly anyone knows that Doyle also wrote many horror stories and was a brilliant master of the genre. A collection of these can be found in The Horror of the Heights & Other Strange Tales. And what a delightful treat these tales are!

I suppose one shouldn’t be surprised that the father of literature’s most enduring character would bring considerable creativity to bear. But it’s remarkable how Doyle invented many of the staples of supernatural fiction.

His story “The Great Keinplatz Experiment,” anticipates the many body-swapping movies Hollywood has churned out, like “Freaky Friday,” “18 Again,” “Prelude to a Kiss,” and Rob Schneider’s hilarious “The Hot Chick.”

AHEAD OF HIS TIME: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle could frighten readers as well as baffle them with mysteries,

His “Lot. 249” introduces the shambling, homicidal mummy that would decades later send chills up the spines of movie goers in The Mummy. Another story, “The Ring of Thoth,” precedes “The Mummy” ’s theme of an immortal Egyptian driven by love spanning the centuries.

The story “The Horror of the Heights,” is about an airplane menaced by a monster that dwells in the clouds. It would be echoed in the classic 1963 “Twilight Zone” episode in which William Shatner, recovering from a nervous breakdown, is the only passenger aboard a plane to see a mysterious creature tampering with the engine.

As a writer, I’m often frustrated at how often I’ll come up with what I believe to be an original idea for a supernatural story, only to discover that “The Twilight Zone” got there first. Well, again and again, Conan Doyle beats Rod Serling to the punch.

"STEWARDESS!" William Shatner discovers a new reason to take the bus in the classic Twilight Zone episode "Terror at 20,000 feet."

The most truly fascinating thing about these stories is that each includes a clearly outlined mechanism for the supernatural occurrence, lending the tales unusual realism.

Remember, Conan Doyle was an ardent believer in the occult. He vouched for mediums and ascribed to their pseudoscientific cosmology (ectoplasm, astral planes and the like). He believed in telepathy, psychometry, clairvoyance — and even fairies, championing those dubious “fairy photographs” as legitimate.

In most modern horror novels and movies, the supernatural element requires total suspension of disbelief. We are simply supposed to accept that there are vampires, werewolves, ghosts, zombies or whatever, with the why and how left unanswered.

In occult-expert Conan Doyle’s stories there is always a logical explanation for the supernatural events, no matter how fantastic. For example, in the body-switching story, the spooky fun starts when a professor and his assistant, sitting side by side, simultaneously attempt out-of-body projection.

And in “Horror of the Heights,” the denizens of the upper atmosphere are  life forms that one might reasonably believe could inhabit the sky — unlike the lumbering, Abominable Snowman-like “gremlin” of “The Twilight Zone” episode.

IT'S A WRAP! The 1932 movie "The Mummy" has a precursor in one of Conan Doyle's stories.

Beyond that, the twisty, sometimes grimly humorous stories deliver the requisite scares. There were none that I didn’t like. My favorite was “The Parasite,” in which a hypnotist’s parlor exhibition at a cocktail party leads to harrowing consequences for the subject. This tale features a storyline you definitely WON’T recognize from Hollywood movies. And it builds up to a nail-biting climax even Sherlock Holmes wouldn’t foresee.

Horror reaches new heights in collection of scary tales by the creator of Sherlock Holmes.

Copyright C. Michael Forsyth

If you only read ONE werewolf novel this week, make it Hour of the Beast by C. Michael Forsyth.

To check out HOUR OF THE BEAST, click HERE.

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