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Conversations with Spirits

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  301 Ratings  ·  71 Reviews
Librarian Note: Alternate Cover Edition for ISBN10: 1908717408 / ISBN13: 9781908717405.

Amazon best seller. Nominated for The Guardian / Edinburgh Book Festival 'First Book Award' 2014.

December, 1917.

The Great War is rampaging through Europe – yet Trelawney Hart has scarcely noticed. The arch-sceptic and former child prodigy has lost his way, and now ekes out a lonely exist
Paperback, 320 pages
Published March 14th 2014 by Unbound (first published October 10th 2013)
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Justin Pollard
Nov 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm biased because I published it, but I think it's magnificent.
Nov 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

There are distinguishable points in most novels from first time authors, where, if they are lucky, the reader decides that they may have discovered something very special. It might be a piece of dialogue, a clever turn of phrase or simply a well written observation, which lights a spark within the mind and eggs the reader to continue reading with eagerness and not a little avarice.

I am unfortunate to be the very ashamed owner of a hummingbird mind, quick to bore and forever giving up and moving
Edward Higgins
Sep 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Nominated for The Guardian / Edinburgh Book Festival 'First Book Award' 2014.

The paperback edition of Conversations with Spirits is now available on Amazon:
What a start to my new year reading list!

Conversations with Spirits is the debut novel of E O Higgins and it is an absolute hoot! Set in 1917 England and at the behest of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Trelawney Hart, the hard-drinking, chain-smoking anti-hero, starts out on a journey to uncover the truth behind recent stories of a medium who is gaining a strong reputation as a genuine psychic. Hart is a sceptic and believes in logic and materialism, so the thought of uncovering a fraud is intriguing
Mar 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I often begin to read many books, that if I'm being honest - and I'm being honest - I labour to finish.
Like a stubborn old man on a walking holiday, once I've set-off on my predetermined trip, no matter the way, I'll always endeavour to finish it. I'll heroically struggle through indeterminable thickets of plot; scale mountainously unsubtle messages; and flounder, helplessly, in the swamps of the badly written, just to reach the promised land, that is the end.

There are also books that are not gu
This is a very enjoyable little novel. Essentially it is a tale that throws light upon Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s, often ridiculed obsession, with spiritualism and the supernatural. Throughout he is portrayed as a foolish man, who is easily duped and often falls prey to tricksters. In fact he really doesn’t come out in a very favourable light at all in this novel. I am an avid fan of the great man’s work, but I still found enjoyment in the story, despite E. O. Higgins’s portrayal.
The story follo
Jun 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Bravo E.O.! (PS - I was finally able to get a hard copy of your book here in the US!)
Clever, humorous, unique and well-written! The protagonist, Trelawney Hart, is a quirky, intelligent man whose flaws are obvious but endearing. Other characters include: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; a lovable simpleton, Billy (who perhaps is not simple at all but a rather smart man who fell into poor life-circumstances); and just a few others making this an easy-flowing and enjoyable read.

The idea of conversing with
An intrinsically woven story, laced with hints of humour and deeper issues.

Trelawney Hart is a very well-rounded, 3D character. It's not hard to both love and hate him. He's a complete arsehole, but has also somehow managed to become one of my favourite fictional characters.

Incredibly researched, with an very distinct voice, Conversations with Spirits is a must read for fans of Sherlock Holmes. I drew the parallels between Hart and Holmes almost immediately. However, Hart is infinitely more huma
Sep 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book was really good – and different – which is also good.
I wasn’t sure at first if I would like it when I read in the blurb: December, 1917. The Great War is rampaging through Europe… but fortunately the war was not a main topic in the book.
We meet Trelawney Hart… an anti-hero, seldom sober but nonetheless very charismatic… who is asked by the famous Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to investigate (if necessary debunk) a psychic medium.
Trelawney Hart is a sceptic and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle an obs
Kevin Parr
Mar 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I enjoy a drink, perhaps too much, but every now and again I sip an ale so fine that I fall off my stool. I’m not pissed, yet, but when you’ve sloshed through a zillion pints it is rare to find a beer that ruffles your hair, brings a smile and gives you a warm glow inside.
It was two o’clock on a midweek morning when I realised that my quick dip into Conversations with Spirits had seen half the pages vanish. If fine ale is unusual then a tale woven this well is a CAMRA champion.
EO Higgins takes u
Nov 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved, loved, loved this book. Sometimes you read a work with a central character who is so compelling, so alive, that you feel sad when you finish reading it and have to end your relationship. The skeptical, ungovernable, hilarious Trelawney Hart is one of those characters, so fully fleshed out and 3-D that it's hard to believe he's not someone I really knew and loved despite his many flaws. His portrait is aided by the remarkable sensory detail of this novel; as reader I felt every wind full o ...more
Mar 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club, 2014
I very much enjoyed the progress of this tale, something approaching a story of redemption for the main character, the intriguing Trelawney Hart. Raised in unorthodox fashion, Hart spends his days drinking cherry brandy until Sir Arthur Conan Doyle asks him a favour.

In particular, I found the language delightful and enjoyed Hart's temperament and attitude - always ready with a dry if not outright caustic comment, singularly condescending in his dealings with Doyle - and in fact everybody apart
Jill Hand
Sep 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I heard this book involved Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Price, I had to read it, and when I finished reading it, I started at the beginning and read it all over again, more slowly this time, really savoring it.
E.O. Higgins is a very clever fellow. He gets Doyle and Price (the original ghost-hunter, who investigated Borley Rectory) just right.
The hero is a brilliant, flawed man with formidable powers of observation and rationality, and a serious substance-abuse problem who, quite amusing
Jan 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wonderfully rich language makes the settings and characters come alive. A delightful read. Pleased to read a story written in modern times, set in the past, which feels true to the setting's period. I've read several books this year in which this particular suspension of disbelief is impossible, but that is not the case here. I'll read it again one day just to revisit the places in the book. Fantastic.
Jan 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a wonderful thing. It's an interesting story, colourful characters and it's very funny. You will find yourself wondering what's next for Mr. Hart and his newly assembled team. There must surely be another book...
Mar 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Couldn't put it down...
Feb 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
I finished reading this a month or two ago, but felt impelled to finally get round to writing my review because I watched "Arthur & George" on TV the other night. The true tale of Sherlock Holmes' creator turning detective, to take on institutional racism in the case of George Edalji and The Great Wyrley Outrages. (And if you don't know what that's about, then you'll just have to Google it.)

But you see, I thought to myself, "Well, that's interesting, Arthur Conan Doyle appearing in a TV show
Feb 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cambridge
I started reading this story many years ago on a website called Jottify, a "social media" site for aspiring writers. Some of the people on there were clearly talented, some clearly had the drive to work on their story. E.O. Higgins had both the talent and the drive, and before long this story was the most read, most commented on, and probably most brilliant as well. Along with hundreds of others, I awaited each new chapter eagerly, until one day they stopped coming and I, to be honest, just move ...more
Sonya Lano
Sep 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Highly recommended - but read this book for the writing and the characters, not for the plot, because I think it's the writing that really sets this book apart from a lot of other novels out there. It flows with a smooth, languid grace similar to what I imagine the mood must be over tea in England, with clever bits of exchanged wit and unspoken sentiments conveyed via meaningful looks over teacups (and now all my British friends will tease me forever after writing that sentence!).
From the exaspe
Tracey Watson
Nov 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Conversations with Spirits is an enjoyable easy to read novel, it was such a nice change to fly through a book without it weighing your arms down. The title is very apt both in the spiritual way and the abundance of alcohol, I will always think of Mr Hart next time I have a cherry brandy! E.O Higgins captures the essence of days gone by in his style of writing although my imagination just wouldn't allow me to place the story in the time of The Great War and kept picturing the late 1800's, but it ...more
Jun 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Pat Padden
This was fun. Brainiac bad boy and piss artist extraordinaire Trelawny Hart is peeled off the carpet at his club and set to work helping Sir Arthur Conan Doyle prove the veracity of the talent of psychic medium J.P. Besant. Along for the ride are Trelawny's down-at-heels sidekick Billy and world-famous psychic investigator Harry Price, best known for his investigation of the most haunted house in England, Borley Rectory. There's something akin to a Marx Brothers film about this book - people pop ...more
Mar 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
What a fun read! This is sort of the other side of Sherlock Holmes. Trelawney Hart is a tragic drunk, suffering the loss of his wife and drowning his sorrows on a continuous basis. He's also a former child prodigy who survived an abusive childhood. He exists on brandy and cynicism, but has a very soft spot for those less fortunate. When Trelawney is contacted by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to play devil's advocate with regard to a spiritualist, Trelawney lurches off to prove that spiritualists are bu ...more
Apr 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Trelawney Hart is the tragic hero in this beautifully written psychic mystery. When famous writer and spiritualist, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle asks him to investigate the ‘Broadstairs Miracle’, he begrudgingly accepts. Drowned in self-indulgence and cherry brandy, he sets out to expose the event as misdirection and trickery. Once there however, he witnesses things that even he can’t explain.

In Conversations with Spirits, Higgins paints a vivid and lingering picture of 1917 Broadstairs, filled with
Jun 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Considering I didn’t really know anything about the author (this book being his debut), I wasn’t really expecting too much. However, the book is actually brilliant.

It’s laugh-out-loud funny in places, very moving in others, and it’s just a really easy, interesting and fun read.

And, even though Conversations with Spirits is written in a way that successfully appropriates the style of Great War literature, it is, perversely, a novel that is bustling with energy and inventiveness.
Thomas Hocknell
Mar 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thought I had reviewed this at the time, but was clearly so flabbergasted at how good it was that I forgot. The fact I can write one a year or so after finishing it says it all.
If you like an immersive story, with huge shades of Conan Doyle and tight prose (and Broadstairs), then this is frankly unmissable.
The only thing wrong with this novel is that there is no sequel (as yet), and it demands one. As do I!
A fantastic achievement.
Amy Barnes
Dec 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
And on finishing this I hit my 2014 reading challenge target in the nick of time - hurrah!

Conversations with Spirits is certainly a diverting read, a real page turner, but it missed out on five stars from me because of a few historical and language-related anachronisms, which I found really jarring (being high priestess of pedants).

I did enjoy noting that Prof James Moriarty was one of the books backers. :)
Mar 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Features many of the things I like in a novel: story that is strong but not confusing, protagonist who is smart and charismatic but self-destructive with a hint of tragedy, very few typographical errors.
Only a brief mention of the sea, for which omission I am docking one star. But otherwise, really very enjoyable indeed. Highly recommended. You'll all be getting a copy for Christmas.
Sep 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quips and Smarmy Charm!

Witty, smart, reminiscent of my favorite Holmes qualities with an individual flair. I hope this gets adapted to a screenplay! Loved the duo of main characters.
Aug 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Thoroughly enjoyable read. I couldn't put this down. The style of writing is so effortless it draws you in - so that you are carried along into the adventure, awaiting Trelawney Hart to find ingenious solution to the bizarre 'miracle' laid before you in the book.
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“It is far more painful to awake from a beautiful slumber and – in that brief period when the continuity of life is still lost to you – to reach across the bed for a hand that is not there.” 16 likes
“Must be an awful thing to have a happy childhood,' I said absently, lifting my drink to my lips. 'What terrible preparation for life.” 8 likes
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