Friday, May 29, 2015
The Ectoplasmic Man!
The Ectoplasmic Man was one of the earliest in Titan Book's line of Sherlock Holmes pastiches. Written by Daniel Stashower, this novel was first released in the middle 80's.
I've put off reading it until now simply because I find myself somewhat bored by the shenanigans of the famous Harry Houdini. It was not always so, as I fondly remember a book I got in elementary school which detailed Houdini's life and I scoured it. But in more recent years I've seen so many TV specials on magic and Houdini that I've just grown somewhat tired of the subject. He was a fantastically conditioned athlete and he was a fantastically clever magician. There have been a few, but I don't doubt he captured the imagination like no one else before or since.
That said, this Sherlock Holmes story purports to be yet another discovered manuscript by the loquacious Dr.John Watson, who must be among the most prolific authors who never lived. It tells of a time late in the career of Sherlock Holmes when Houdini was touring Europe and found himself running afoul of the British government when some documents go missing. Given his highly publicized talent for defying locks he falls under suspicion by Inspector Lestrade and others and is thrown into the gaol. Bess Houdini implores Sherlock to take the case and he does for King and country and eventually for the benefit of the Houdinis themselves.
It's a slight mystery alas, as the solution seems a bit too obvious too soon. I expected a few more twists, but the revelations of some of the hijinks used to steal the documents are properly clever and tie nicely into the legend of Houdini.