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The Weiser Book of Occult Detectives: 13 Stories of Supernatural Sleuthing Paperback – October 1, 2017
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"The Weiser Book of Occult Detectives is an outstanding collection of classic thrillers that celebrate occult detective work – a genre more appropriate than ever in the current age of paranormal investigations and interests. Settle in for a riveting read!" --Rosemary Ellen Guiley, author of The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits
"Read The Weiser Book of Occult Detectives when you find yourself slumped over your own desk, your typewriter teeth glaring at you and your lamplight flickering in disgust at your writer's block. Not only will you find inspiration, you will get so lost in the pages that you will forget all about your own dying novel and instead try your hand at solving a mystery by any means possible. Any. Means. Necessary." ―Varla Ventura, author of Fairies, Pookas & Changelings
"Dark forces, supernatural powers, and sinister villains: even the most serious occultist has a soft spot in their heart for these tales of what the magical world should be. Containing classics from authors such as Blackwood, Blavatsky, Dion Fortune and Conan Doyle, among others, these extraordinary tales of the uncanny will delight, fascinate…and perhaps terrify." --Liz Williams, author of the 'Detective Inspector Chen' novels
"Judika Illes has compiled an amazing collection of occult detective stories, mining some of the best paranormal mysteries the early twentieth century had to offer, written by such legendary authors as Algernon Blackwood, William Hope Hodgson, Sax Rohmer, Dion Fortune, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
As one devoted to the genre, both as a fan and an author, I understand the awesome task Illes has undertaken. To pore over the sheer volume of early occult detective tales and select the very best and defining tales for a collection such as this would be a maddening endeavor for any scholar, but Judika Illes has done an admirable job of putting together a brilliant and impressive table of contents here. As well read in the genre as I am, Judika Illes has managed to unearth no less than four spectacular tales that had escaped my attention: "The Dead Hand" by L.T. Meade and Robert Eustace, "The Vampire" by Alice and Claude Askew, "The Witness in the Woods" by Rose Champion de Crespigny, and "The Eyes of Doom" by Ella M. Scrymsour.
Whether you are new to the genre or a lifelong fan, The Weiser Book of Occult Detectives: 13 Stories of Supernatural Sleuthing is a collection you absolutely cannot do without." ―Bob Freeman, The Occult Detective, author of Shadows Over Somerset, Keepers of the Dead, and The Liber Monstrorum series
"Edgar Allan Poe is credited with writing the first detective stories and the incredible skills of ur-detective C. Auguste Dupin seem at times to be supernatural. The sleuths in The Weiser Book of Occult Detectives embrace the uncanny when approaching a mystery and include experts in the esoteric arts, paranormal investigators, and detectives with psychic powers. Judika Illes’ informative introduction and notes on each author explain how the thirteen groundbreaking tales in the collection, which date from 1855 - 1922, helped establish conventions of this fascinating sub-genre and laid the groundwork for today’s popular occult detective novels, comics, television series, films and video games. An entertaining, engaging book providing mystery and otherworldly chills that will have the reader searching out further works by the authors included." ―Karen Lee Street, author of Edgar Allan Poe and the London Monster and Writing and Selling Crime Film Screenplays
"With an excellent introduction by Judika Illes, The Weiser Book of Occult Detectives combines well-recognized supernatural sleuths with their colleagues who ought to be well-recognized. For decades, scholars treated the occult detective cross-genre as developing after Sherlock Holmes appeared in 1887, only one or two prototypes glimmering before then. This book continues the new push to show that these characters rose much earlier and, in fact, can be traced to the very start of modern detective fiction. Carefully and creatively chosen works of occult detective fiction follow a smart introduction by Illes." --Tim Prasil, author of Help for the Haunted: A Decade of Vera Van Slyke Ghostly Mysteries and editor of Those Who Haunt Ghosts: A Century of Ghost Hunter Fiction and Giving Up the Ghosts: Short-Lived Occult Detective Series by Six Renowned Authors
"Timely and elegant; spooky and intriguing; and highly recommended for both readers and writers interested in the great beyond, The Weiser Book of Occult Detectives is an amazing collection of stories, sure to delight any reader interested in mysteries in general, and the supernatural and occult in particular. But writers of such fiction have much to learn here as well. This compilation will be your go to read for excellence in occult mysteries for years to come." --J.T. Ellison, New York Times bestselling author of Field of Graves and Lie To Me
About the Author
Judika Illes is a leading authority on magic, mysticism, and the occult as well as a lover of mysteries and detective stories. She is the editor of The Weiser Book of the Fantastic and Forgotten and the author of numerous books devoted to the magical arts. Visit her at www.judikailles.com.
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All of the stories featured were written between 1855 and 1922, and capture the Victorian flair of group seances, dark alleys where evil lurks, and the incredible power of the human mind. Even if you’re not a fan of older fiction, the stories in the book are captivating, brilliant, and creepy. Some will make you laugh, some will make you gasp, one even made me gag a little. If you’re one to pull out your fave collection of Edgar Allen Poe every october, you’ll find something to love in this book.
As a bonus the authors featured are both men and women, and as such so are the characters, which was probably one of my favourite things about this book.
Each story is introduced by Judika with facts about the occult and spiritual proclivities of the authors, and weaves together a history of occultism and spiritualism during the time. Witches and psychics will be thrilled to see a story by Helena Blavatsky, the creator of the Theosophical society and world famous spiritualist! There’s also The Leather Funnel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (YES! of Sherlock Holmes fame!) which, despite being fiction, does follow the true account of Marie-Madeleine-Marguerite D’Aubray who was charged with murder and witchcraft in 1676, which set off a number of witch trials in france.
I highly recommend the book to everyone! I loved the historical facts and tidbits about each story almost as much as I loved the stories themselves.
Most importantly, Illes provides a concise introduction to each work, orienting you to the authors and stories. Recommended.