How two famous friends became bitter enemies in a battle over life, death – and the afterlife
Praise for Christopher Sandford’s McQueen
‘Highly entertaining… a compelling portrait of a true original’ Mail on Sunday
‘[A] penetrating and entertaining biography’ Sunday Express
In the early 20th century, in the English-speaking world, Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini were two of the most feted and famous men alive. And their relationship is extraordinary. As strange as it may seem Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of the ultra-rational detective Sherlock Holmes, was a believer in Spiritualism. He came to his belief that one could communicate with the dead, after his son was killed in World War I, and became an expert in the field.
Harry Houdini, the world’s foremost magician, was a friend of Conan Doyle's, but was sceptical of his belief in the supernatural. Houdini took every opportunity to use his knowledge of illusion to expose psychics who he thought were fakes, particularly incensed by their exploitation of grief and insecurity.
Based on original research, this sensational duel biography conjures up the early 20th century and the fame, personality and competing beliefs of two popular geniuses.
Christopher Sandford has been a professional writer for 29 years. A regular contributor to Cricketer International in the eighties, he has written biographies of English cricket legends Godfrey Evans and Tom Graveney, as well as biographies of Keith Richards, Steve McQueen, Roman Polanski and, most recently, Imran Khan. His articles have appeared in, among others, The Times, Daily Telegraph, The Spectator, Cosmopolitan, Vanity Fair and the New York Times. He divides his time between Seattle and England.
HBK £20.00 ISBN 9780715641460 Published 27/10/2011
Thanks to Jessica Thompson at Duckworth Publishing. You can pre-order Houdini and Conan Doyle (UK edition) at Amazon.co.uk. The U.S. edition can be pre-ordered here.
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