The Revenant of Thraxton Hall: The Paranormal Casebooks of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Vaughn Entwistle

Small_90055c42ac830867e782f9a9435ff7ac

Ivy D Truitt

over 3 years ago

4.5 stars Arthur Conan Doyle, having killed off England’s beloved Sherlock Holmes in “The Final Problem,” is eager to escape London. He gets the opportunity when medium Hope Thraxton asks him to solve a murder that is yet to be committed, her own.
Arthur is invited by the Society for Psychical Research to Hope’s manor house for two weeks of research and seances. Arthur’s friend, playwright and bon vivant Oscar Wilde, invites himself along to assist Arthur in his investigation. The game is afoot.

THE REVENANT OF THRAXTON HALL is pure gothic. Lady Hope Thraxton suffers from a rare congenital disease, porphyria, an allergy to light. Darkness is prevalent in the setting and atmosphere. Her manor home, Thraxton Hall, built on the moors some distance from the village of Slattenmere in Lancashire, is in a sad state of disrepair. Thraxton Hall is said to be haunted and cursed, a deeply unhappy home with a tragic past.

Hope Thraxton, a medium of some renown, has foreseen her death during a séance at Thraxton Hall two weeks hence. Arthur and Oscar travel from London to Thraxton Hall at the invitation of the SPR but with a secret ulterior motive, to stop Hope’s murder. Into all that gloom waltzes Oscar Wilde. I lost count of the times I laughed aloud at some outrageous comment or his over the top attire. Wilde injects much appreciated levity into an occasionally oppressive gloomy atmosphere.

Arthur has just killed off Holmes in “The Final Problem,” and discovers he had grossly underestimated the public’s love of the detective. He’s now the most hated man in London. His beloved wife, Touie, is dying of consumption which despite his being a doctor he can do nothing about. Then there’s his attraction to Hope Thraxton. Arthur finds himself sorely tested during his sojourn at Thraxton Hall.

History fascinates me and Mr. Entwistle’s adroit blending of factual and fictional is spot on and amusing. The occult and the Victorian’s captivation with it are central. .Arthur Conan Doyle and Oscar Wilde join together to create an amusing play on Holmes and Watson. They complement and play off each other brilliantly. The style and verbiage suit the story and time period perfectly. It was a great pleasure to reacquaint myself with words I haven’t come across in ages.

Mr. Entwistle has written a unique cleverly plotted occult mystery using two of my favorite authors as protagonists. Atmospheric, witty, suspenseful, and wholly entertaining THE REVENANT OF THRAXTON HALL is the first in a highly promising series. I’m anxiously awaiting the next book, The Dead Assassin.