In the years following the Great War, a skeptical conjuror and a spiritualist medium merge their interests to tour the regional lecture halls of the United Kingdom.
This eBook novella is a free download, offered to coincide with US paperback publication of The Bedlam Detective.
Set in the aftermath of the Great War, it follows the pairing of stage magician Will Goulston and spiritualist Frederick Kelly as they tour the lecture halls of provincial Britain.
“Mister Goulston will begin with a demonstration of spirit effects and fake mediumship. I can tell you now that he’s very impressive.”
Two of the four journalists present made notes, and the man from the Northern Telegraph said, “Can I ask Mister Goldston why he consents to appear on a bill with a practising medium, when he’s declared all clairvoyants to be frauds and charlatans?”
“That’s very simple,” Goulston said, with a glance at Borthwick to be sure that the error over his name would not go uncorrected. “I’m here to catch Mister Kelly out.”
“Have you done that, yet?”
As far as the device at its heart is concerned, that came about when I heard of how, in the late 1970s, ideological opponents G Gordon Liddy and Timothy Leary partnered up to tour on the debating circuit. I thought of them berating each other’s beliefs at every engagement and then checking unto the same hotel afterwards. I’d been looking for a form in which I could do something about the conflict of science and superstition that would allow for the kind of complexity that I felt it needed, and here it was on a plate. It was human, it was absurd, and yet it still made perfect sense.
Help yourself. No charge. One of the best things I ever wrote.
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