A Bookaholic, Pro-life, Pro-Family, Pro-Oxford Comma, Catholic (with Asperger's) who reads and writes as her obsession. I've been reading over 400 books a year lately. These are my ramblings on some of the books I read. To read about all the books I read and comment on, visit me at LibraryThing or Goodreads.

I've been blogging since 2007 and at this point (July 2015) am trying my hand at turning the theme of this blog towards mystery, thriller, and crime, fiction and nonfiction. I have some special interest topics and categories within this broad genre which include (but are not limited to) serial killers, scandi-crime, Victorian history and historicals, history of the criminally insane and asylums, psychopathology, death, funerary practices and burial, corpses, true crime and anything dealing with the real life macabre, or that portrayed in fiction.

I also read a short story a day from various collections, sometimes anthologies othertimes collections of a single author's work. These reviews are also posted here and while they are of mixed genre the mystery, thriller, horror, gothic and macabre often appear within their pages as well.

I also blog about
graphic novels and manga on a separate BLOG.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

125. The Seance

The Seance by Iain Lawrence

Pages: 263
Finished: July 12, 2008
First Published: July 8, 2008
Genre: YA, historical fiction, mystery
Rating: 3.5/5

Reason for Reading: I received a Review Copy from Random House Canada. Qualifies for the Canadian Challenge.

First sentence:

At five minutes to midnight, a stranger arrived for the seance.

Comments: It is 1926 and Scooter King is his mother's helper. Madam King is a spiritualist who holds fake seances and Scooter is the one who pulls all the strings behind the scenes. One night he follows a mysterious stranger and ends up at the theatre where Harry Houdini will soon be performing. As Scooter enters the theatre, unnoticed, he enters the room where Houdini's Torture Tank will be on public display the next day, and he discovers a dead body hanging in the chamber. Houdini is out to prove that all spiritualists are fakes but Scooter and he must join forces to find out not only who killed this man but who is trying to kill them both.

Iain Lawrence writes wonderful books and each book is significantly different than the others. The historical setting of 1926 American city-life is vibrant and even more so as we enter the world of fake spiritualists of the time and backstage theatre life. His characters even speak the slang of the day adding to the authenticity. The murder mystery is an added bonus that will probably keep kids guessing, though I, an adult, did see where the plot was going fairly on. Houdini certainly was an entertaining character and those who are familiar with his life will appreciate the research the author must have done to be true to character.

I noticed several Holmesian 'nods' in the book, names and such, so I wondered if Arthur Conan Doyle was going to appear in the story somewhere. He did not; but the author's afterward explains how this story came to be and the real history behind it along with the connection between Doyle and Houdini. A really fun historical romp that I enjoyed.


  1. Sounds like one I would really enjoy! Thanks for the review.

  2. Does sound quite pleasant. It reminds me of Lucy Jago's Northern Lights book. Kristian Birkeland (the scientist who unraveled the mystery of the northern lights) became involved with a woman who was preoccupied with seances. A man of science, he had no time for it. They seemed to have been such a fad at that time, didn't they?

  3. This sounds like a lot of fun! It's now on my list. Thanks!