The Revenant of Thraxton Hall
“My murder will take place in a darkened séance room—shot twice in the chest.” The words are a premonition related to Arthur Conan Doyle when he answers a summons for help from a woman who identifies herself only as “a Spiritualist Medium of some renown.” The house is a fashionable address in London. The woman’s voice is young, cultured and ethereal. But even with his Holmesian powers of observation, Conan Doyle can only guess at her true identity, for the interview takes place in total darkness. Suspicious of being drawn into a web of charlatanism, the author is initially reluctant. However, the mystery deepens when he returns the next day and finds the residence abandoned.
1893 is a tumultuous year in the life of the 34-year old Conan Doyle: his alcoholic father dies in an insane asylum, his wife is diagnosed with galloping consumption, and his most famous literary creation, Sherlock Holmes, is killed off in The Adventure of the Final Problem. It is a move that backfires, making the author the most hated man in England. But despite the fact that his personal life is in turmoil, the lure of an intrigue proves irresistible. Conan Doyle assumes the mantle of his fictional consulting detective and recruits a redoubtable Watson in the Irish playwright, Oscar Wilde, who brings to the sleuthing duo a razor-keen mind, an effervescent wit, and an outrageous sense of fashion.
“The game is a afoot” as the two friends board a steam train for Northern England to attend the first meeting of the Society for Psychical Research, held at the mysterious medium’s ancestral home of Thraxton Hall—a brooding Gothic pile swarmed by ghosts. Here, they encounter an eccentric mélange of seers, scientists, psychics and skeptics—each with an inflated ego and a motive for murder. As the night of the fateful séance draws near, the two writers find themselves entangled in a Gordian Knot that would confound even the powers of a Sherlock Holmes to unravel—how to solve a murder before it is committed.
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—Curiosity of a Social Misfit
“It would be so easy to get the tone wrong, the pacing wrong. But Entwhistle truly manages to find the balance: he doesn’t take the source material so very seriously that the book becomes overly serious. He knows it’s bananas. He loves that it’s bananas. B.A.N.A.N.A.S. And so do I. But at the same time, he does take quite seriously the business of making a good book. The story is compelling, the mystery solid, with all the good red herrings and false reveals that a strong mystery story demands. I am eagerly awaiting the next in the Case!”
—Criminal Element (read the full review)
“The book reads like an English “sensation” novel, with its creaking stairs, mangled inheritance and damsel in distress.”
—M. W. Gerard (read the full review)
“Another thing I liked was the bold and wonderful decision to team with Doyle with the equally as legendary Oscar Wilde. On paper that may seem like a strange pairing for a story but it works superbly well here and the interplay between the two comes across as realistic and well thought out. The way they work together to try and solve the case really feels like it would be a great episode of a television series or even as a movie. Hell, I’d watch it if that ever happened.”
—Curiosity of a Social Misfit (read the full review)
“Oscar Wilde does more than offer color commentary as well and is a strong addition to tale. This is a well written novel and the banter between the two drive the story as well as the detailed moments of paranormal activity… This novel moves at a good clip and the writing is very good. I look forward to the next mystery to come.”
—Medhumdosis (read the full review)
“Combining mystery and suspense with a sprinkling of humor and a dash of romance (as well as a dollop of the paranormal for good measure), Entwistle tells an entertaining, engaging tale in vivid prose with apt description.”
—Riffle Books (read the full review)
“Not only is The Revenant of Thraxton Hall well written, it’s SO MUCH FUN. It’s like a Scooby Doo episode for nerdy adults.”
—Cozy Little Book Journal
“This was a very enjoyable read indeed. The paranormal elements mentioned in the title were there throughout, which is refreshing as many books that call themselves paranormal lose the feel half way through. Doyle is well written and Oscar Wilde, in the almost Dr. Watson role, was a brave and exciting choice which works incredibly well. The setting itself is reminiscent of any ye olde gothic ghost story and Entwistle proves himself a very capable provider of atmosphere.”
—The Dreamcage (read the full review)
“I enjoyed the book. Oscar Wilde is my favorite character, and it would be difficult to exaggerate the man, his eccentricities, or his wit.”
—The BookGarden (read the full review)