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3.21 of 5 stars 3.21  ·  rating details  ·  230 ratings  ·  51 reviews
Set in 1920's New York City, this dazzling literary thriller by the bestselling author of Falling Angel combines pulse-racing action, a cast of famous historical characters, a brilliantly deranged serial killer, and visits from beyond the grave.
Hardcover, 289 pages
Published October 1st 1994 by Atlantic Monthly Press (first published January 1st 1990)
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Deb Novack
When you have Houdini, Edgar Allen Poe and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle you are sure to get an awesome storyline and I was not disappointed. Sir Arthur and Houdini investigate the "Poe Murders". Both men think they will be victims so they join forces and the storyline follows them during their separate tour schedules. There are many tales along the way that are interwoven so well they all come together at the end. This is a well written and well thought out story with the characters completely believa...more
Review: Nevermore by William Hjortsberg

Title: Nevermore
Author: William Hjortsberg
Publisher: Open Road
Publication Date: March 2012

Good Reads Synopsis
Why I Read It

I am always interested in anything related to Poe, Houdini, and somewhat intrigued by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. After perusing NetGalley's listings, I came across this novel by William Hjortsberg and decided it had to be worth the read. Poe, Houdini, and Doyle all in one. Had to be good.
Short Synopsis (no spoilers)

Murders begin piling up...more
C.C. Thomas
What other book has a line-up like this? On first base, Harry Houdini; rounding third, Arthur Conan Doyle and batting on deck the ghost of Edgar Allen Poe. While my baseball lingo leaves a bit to be desired, this book is has a line-up most teams would bankrupt themselves for.

The main character is Harry Houdini. Yep, that Harry Houdini. Houdini, along with his friend Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (yep, that Conan Doyle), are on the case of a series of murders that mimic the mystery and horror stories of...more
Karen Patterson
This was an interesting concept and could have been a great book: Around early 1920's - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini both in New York with their wives and right in the midst of murders mirroring Edgar Allan Poe stories. Although I knew the author wove history with fiction, I had no idea that Doyle and Houdini were actually friends for a period of time back then so on a good note, I learned some history on both of those characters which I hadn't known before. During this story, Doyle...more
Maybe you are a reader who enjoys flabby, tepid characterization served swimming in a thin and flavorless plot. Perhaps you are a literary epicure who appreciates a lagniappe of Harry Houdini getting a surprise ass-fuck from a carved ivory dildo filled with warm milk.

I'm not.
Decent airplane read; unfortunately I was not traveling. One mildly salacious sex scene. Houdini! Sir Arthur Conan Doyle! The ghost of Edgar Allan Poe! Early Jazz Age razz-ma-tazz. Macguffin.
The writing style was excellent, but the plot seemed to be all over the place. There were extra characters and scenarios that had very little to do with the over all plot, and (what should have been) the main focus was hardly touched on except for a mention here and there. Also, there were quite a few editing errors. These included Houdini saying he was going to do something for three hours and then that ultimate switching to two later on, with mention of saying "as previously determined", and a...more
Nevermore was pretty interesting. At first, it was hard to get into for me. The beginning is from a very minor character's perspective, which, to be quite honest with you, is dull. His perspective is very small in comparison to the other POVs in the story, and for me, it begs the question: why would Hjortsberg start the story with him, when he isn't really all that important? It's just odd.

The rest of the story moves along at a decent clip - the characterizations of Harry Houdini and Sir Arthur...more
Tom Williams
This is a murder mystery wrapped around an actual meeting between Harry Houdini and Arthur Conan Doyle.

Hjortsber has carefully researched this story. He has learned an awful lot about 1920s New York and no one could claim he wears his learning lightly. The opening of the novel bogs down again and again as irrelevant details of time and place are thrown in to demonstrate how thoroughly the era has been studied. Unfortunately, this information is seldom incorporated smoothly into the story. Write...more
Andre Farant
Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini actually were good friends; Arthur Conan Doyle was an ardent believer in spiritualism and participated in countless séances; Harry Houdini was a famed debunker of psychics and mediums. It is upon the relationship between the two great men, and their differing views on the supernatural, that William Hjortsberg’s novel, Nevermore, is based.

In 1923, during Arthur Conan Doyle’s second American tour promoting spiritualism, he and Houdini are drawn into a series of...more
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini team up to search for a literary-minded killer

It is 1923 and a beautiful young woman has just been found outside a tenement, bones crushed, head ripped from her shoulders. A few stories above, her squalid apartment has been ransacked, and twenty-dollar gold pieces litter the floor. The window frame is smashed. She seems to have been hurled from the building by a beast of impossible strength, and the only witness claims to have seen a long-armed ape fleein...more
Mallory Heart Reviews
Apr 20, 2012 Mallory Heart Reviews rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Mallory Heart by: Great Minds Think Aloud
Shelves: april-2012-reads
“Nevermore” is a delightfully detailed historical mystery with paranormal and supernatural overtones. If you love history-if you love Sherlock Holmes-if you love magic and stage magicians-you must read “Nevermore.” Harry Houdini and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; a magnetically lovely psychic adolescent who went from New England farm family to upscale wealthy New York Society; Houdini’s determination to prove all mediums are faux vs. Conan Doyle’s fascinated believe in the Other Side; all this combines...more
i had high hopes for this one. sir arthur conan doyle and houdini team up to find & stop a murderous madman who is inspired by the works of edgar allan poe. sounded like it could be pretty good. boy, i was let down.
the best parts of the book are the ones that don't involve houdini and conan doyle, but instead feature damon runyon who is trying to get the scoop on the 'poe murders' and a desk sargeant called heegan that he inspires to take the initiative and do a little investigating on his o...more
Lisa B.
I have mixed feelings about this book. It never really “hooked” me and I was probably 2/3 of the way through before it pulled together and become somewhat intriguing. I thought the author wrote eloquently, but there were parts of the story that just didn’t seem to add any value to the overall plot.
It seemed like Houdini and Conan Doyle spent a large part of the story going down separate paths. It wasn’t until that last 1/3 or so that the storyline really brought them together, and that is when t...more
Nevermore opens with a double homicide in New York in 1923. This is followed by several more odd murders which seem to be based on the stories of Edgar Allen Poe.

This book has a great cast of real characters including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Harry Houdini, and Damon Runyan whose use of period slang is hilarious. Edgar Allen Poe also appears although it is never clear whether he is a ghost, a bend in time, or perhaps one of Houdini's illusions.

There is a lot going on in this story: a little of th...more
This is a fun period piece that takes place in the early 1900s, with comfortably familiar characters taking the lead roles in a chilling mystery. I enjoyed the quirky friendship between Houdini and Conan Doyle, especially since Conan Doyle is a true believer in mediums and ghosts, while Houdini is a famed debunker of same. Having Poe appear to Conan Doyle in ghostly form is a treat for those of us who love "gothic" literature. The murders based on Poe's famous stories were gruesome, yet not over...more
I considered labeling this one as paranormal fiction as well, but that since 'Sir Arthur is a loon' can kind of explain it away, I decided against it. I thought this would be Sir Arthur and Houdini teaming up to solve a series of clever murders inspired by Poe's works (of which I apparently have only read sporadically since I only recognized a couple), but it wasn't. There were long segments that didn't seem to advance the story and characters that were repeatedly introduced that could have been...more
The author has a clever concept for the plot of this book. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Houdini in conversation about mysticism and working together to solve murders seemingly related to both of them that occur in the manner of Edgar Allen Poe's stories. Doyle is on a speaking tour in the US and Houdini is performing around the country. The murders and most of the book take place in New York City. The story makes for a good mystery with some thrilling moments as Doyle and Houdini try to figure out...more
Sir Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini team up to solve a series of murders patterned after Edger Allen Poe short stories...sound corny? Well, it is. However, Hjortsberg models his sleuth story after the Sherlock Holmes plot arc, complete with a Sherlock-style unveiling at the end of the story. Though this whodunnit is easy to figure out, Hjortsberg's prose style and description of 1920's New York make for an entertaining read.

Warning: This novel reads like fan fiction, includes a graphic sex scene,...more
Written a few years ahead of the current trend of Extraordinary Gentlemen-style historical mashups, Nevermore had some real promise. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and medium-obsessed Harry Houdini reach out to the restless spirit of Edgar Allan Poe? Heck yeah! Sounds like my kind of story.

The execution, however, didn't measure up to my expectations. The story seemed jumbled, the historical aspects weren't as well integrated as, say, in a Caleb Carr book, and the overt eroticism seemed tacked on. I have...more
International Cat Lady
This tale had so much potential, yet totally fell flat. It was a struggle to get into, was never particularly engaging, numerous loose ends were not tied up, and the ending scene made no sense in the context of the story.
Eh, fine. It went on a little too long, and I find unending gratuitous references to contemporary people, places and things in historical novels a little grating. But I finished it, so I guess I liked it enough.
Aniruddh Sudharshan
Harry Houdini, Arthur Conan Doyle meet up to solve a mysterious killer who mimics Edgar Allen Poe while trying not to be distracted by one hot widow spiritualist medium, cool right?
That's what i thought.
Basically ending went down the shizz, the differences between Houdini and AC Doyle are expressed well, but otherwise we must find solace in the gallery of cameos like Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton.
I found the mystery itself pretty interesting. The idea of someone recreating Poe's decidely disturbing stories is fascinating in and of itself. I even liked the tension between Doyle's belief in a spiritual world and Houdini's need to expose mediums as frauds. It was all the sub-plots I could have done without.

Overall, it was a mishmash of drama, mystery, and fatasy that never really pulled together for me. The only saving grace was that I do love historical figures as characters, especially in...more
The supernatural stuff seems a bit pointless (perhaps it is just psychological?) but I really enjoyed all the details about Houdini and Doyle. Fun facts about life in New York back then, too. It would make an entertaining movie.
Tony Gleeson
William Hjortsberg is a unique and quirky writer, a little raunchy with a fine and subtle sense of humor. Nobody writes quite like him. This odd little ditty brings together Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini-- along with the befuddled ghost of Edgar Allan Poe, who cannot figure out what he's doing there-- to catch a gruesome killer who is borrowing Poe's literary methods of murder. The book is a bit of an edgy ride in places, bordering on uncomfortable, but it's a good read. As I said bef...more
Haha! Artur Conan Doyle, Edgar Allan Poe, Houdini i sztylet w kształcie krzyża wbity w plamę z keczupu na okładce! Seria Kameleon nigdy nie zawodzi.
Czytałam to już dawno temu, nastolatką będąc i wiele nie pamiętam, ale jak na niezłe to było, jak na kryminał.
Właśnie zajrzałam i odkryłam, że bohaterem był też Runyon!
To trzeba przeczytać, szczególnie, że Hjortsberg napisał też obleśnego i zboczonego Harry'ego Angela (znaczy jak dla dwunastolatki).
This is such a strange book! I'd catergorize it as suspense/mystery. Its main characters are all famous real people of the past- Harry Houdini, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (creator of Sherlock Holmes series), and even the ghost of Edgar Allan Poe, though he does not know he is ghost. They are all trying to find a killer who stages the murders to replicate the murders in Poe's stories. I really enjoyed this book and I would recommend that others read it.
I liked this book, even if I think that in some ways it would have been better if a little shorter. My favorite writer, well one of, and one of my favorite magician are involved in some strange murders that have the resemblances of Edgar Allan Poe stories, there is even his ghost around. I'd have liked to see more of the story between Houdini and Isis, but ok, maybe in the next book....

Lauren Smith
Historical drama, mystery, fantasy and metafiction – this makes Nevermore cross-genre fiction, but unfortunately it doesn’t combine these genres as fluidly. The result is that it reads like a historical drama interrupted by a murder mystery, with fantasy wandering around aimlessly throughout.

Read the full review on my blog Violin in a Void
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William Hjortsberg (b. 1941) is an acclaimed author of novels and screenplays. Born in New York City, he attended college at Dartmouth and spent a year at the Yale School of Drama before leaving to become a writer. For the next few years he lived in the Caribbean and Europe, writing two unpublished novels, the second of which earned him a creative writing fellowship at Stanford University.

When his...more
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