Information about Vaughn Entwistle:
Vaughn Entwistle is a British novelist based in the Mendip Hills of North Somerset, an area of outstanding natural beauty.
For most of his life he has rattled about between England and the United States. He lived for over ten years in Seattle where, when not pursuing a day job as a writer/editor, ran a successful gargoyle sculpting business (yes, really!).
When not attempting to write with one cat on his lap, a Brittany lying across his feet, and one or more cats sauntering across the keyboard. When not writing he can be found walking the dog in the English countryside exploring the many gothic manors, ancient stone circles and remains of Roman towns and forts.
Click here to visit his official website.
Information about The Revenant of Thraxton Hall:
Arthur Conan Doyle has just killed off Sherlock Holmes in "The Final Problem," and he immediately becomes one of the most hated men in London. So when he is contacted by a medium "of some renown" and asked to investigate a murder, he jumps at the chance to get out of the city. The only thing is that the murder hasn't happened yet - the medium, one Hope Thraxton, has foreseen that her death will occur at the third séance of a meeting of the Society for Psychical Research at her manor house in the English countryside.
Along for the ride is Conan Doyle's good friend Oscar Wilde, and together they work to narrow down the list of suspects, which includes a mysterious foreign Count, a levitating magician, and an irritable old woman with a "familiar." Meanwhile, Conan Doyle is enchanted by the plight of the capricious Hope Thraxton, who may or may not have a more complicated back-story than it first appears. As Conan Doyle and Wilde participate in séances and consider the possible motives of the assembled group, the clock ticks ever closer to Hope's murder, in The Revenant of Thraxton Hall by Vaughn Entwistle.
A REVIEW OF VAUGHN ENTWISTLE'S THE REVENANT OF THRAXTON HALL
Because I enjoyed reading Vaughn Entwistle's The Angel of Highgate, which was a prequel to The Paranormal Casebooks of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle series, I was eager to read The Revenant of Thraxton Hall. When I began to read it, I found myself fully immersed in the story and read it as fast as I could, because it was everything that I expected it to be. I can honestly say that it's one of the most entertaining Victorian mystery novels I've ever read.
One might easily think that writing an entertaining Victorian mystery novel which contains speculative fiction elements and features two well-known authors as protagonists would be a total disaster, but that is not the case here. Vaughn Entwistle has fully succeeded in creating and realising such a mystery novel without any kind of problems that could arise from writing about famous authors. He has written a remarkably witty and original - not to mention highly entertaining - story about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Oscar Wilde's extraordinary paranormal investigations.
The Revenant of Thraxton Hall is something wonderfully different and it stands out among other Victorian mystery novels. It is in equal parts detective fiction, gothic fiction, paranormal fiction and historical fiction. It's a mesmerising blend of different elements that form an enjoyable story that is speckled with charmingly witty humour. It's a unique story with plenty of old-fashioned charm that is seldom found in mystery novels.
Here's a bit of information about the story:
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has received a letter in which a mysterious and nameless lady seeks his help. She meets the lady under mysterious circumstances, because she suffers from an illness that doesn't allow her to be in the sunlight. The lady tells him of a premeditated murder that has not yet taken place. She tells him that she's a medium who has foreseen her own murder: in two weeks' time she will be murdered during a séance. Soon Conan Doyle receives a letter from Society for Psychical Research. He is asked to attend a retreat at Thraxton Hall with other people. Because he is aware that the mysterious woman he met earlier is Lady Thraxton, he decides to travel to Thraxton Hall. His friend, Oscar Wilde, accompanies him and together they embark on a journey towards Thraxton Hall...
This is the beginning of an imaginative mystery story that takes the protagonists on a strange adventure to an old manor house with a dark past.
The gradually unfolding story flows effortlessly from the first page to the last page. The prose is good and it's a pleasure to read the author's descriptions about the characters and different places. In this novel, style and substance are in perfect balance, because the author has written a gripping and strong story with a mysterious atmosphere.
The characterisation is excellent and wonderfully vivid. The protagonists - and also the minor characters - are interesting and eccentric in their own ways. The versatile cast of characters provides lots of entertainment to readers.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is a troubled man, because he has just finished writing "The Final Problem" that will be the final Sherlock Holmes story. By killing Sherlock Holmes, he has become one of the most hated men in London, because people mourn the fictional hero and want Conan Doyle to bring him back. People call him murderer, because in their eyes he has murdered Sherlock Holmes. The death of Sherlock Holmes is not the only thing that is troubling him, because his alcoholic father has died in an insane asylum and his wife has been diagnosed with consumption.
Vaughn Entwistle writes fascinatingly about how Conan Doyle feels about Sherlock Holmes and how much he wants to write something different. Conan Doyle has become a wealthy man because of his detective stories, but he thinks Sherlock Holmes is keeping him from achieving greater things. He intends to write something else and wants to make people forget his fictional detective.
Oscar Wilde offers excellent counterbalance to Conan Doyle's thoughtful nature and controlled appearance. He is a lively and colourful character who enjoys life and likes to have fun. He has his own extraordinary lifestyle, which includes an outrageous sense of fashion. He has sharp opinions about many things that clash with his vision of how things should be. He has interesting friends whom others consider to be quite strange, and many rumours have been spread about him and his companionship with young men.
If you're familiar with the works and lives of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Oscar Wilde, you're in for a real treat, because the author writes fascinatingly about both of them. He uses well-known historical facts to make both of them realistic, but also adds his own personal touch of originality to make them intriguing. He aims at historical accuracy, but takes liberties for dramatic purposes when the story requires it.
It was enjoyable to read about how Sir Arthur Conan Doyle assumed the the mantle of his fictional detective and how Oscar Wilde became his Dr. Watson. They formed a dynamic pair of detectives who investigated strange happenings in their own unique style. In this novel, their job is to save a beautiful young woman from being murdered.
The members of the Society for Psychical Research are intriguing and well-created characters. For example, Madame Zhozhovsky is a Russian mystic who has an interesting familiar, Mephistopheles. I can also mention that the mysterious Count is an interesting character, because he is traveling incognito to avoid any whiff of scandal at home. It was fascinating for me to read about these character and the other members of the SPR, because the author breathed life into them and wrote vividly about them.
Lady Hope Thraxton is an especially interesting character, because she suffers from porphyria. She's a young woman who can't be in the sunlight because of her illness - sunlight hurts her and she must avoid it. There's an interesting connection between her and Conan Doyle, because Conan Doyle seems to be slightly infatuated with her.
Character interaction works well in this novel. I found myself enjoying the dialogues between Conan Doyle and Wilde, because they were genuinely amusing and witty. The dialogues between Conan Doyle and other characters also work admirably, because the author has clearly invested time in writing them as well as he can. His passion for writing can clearly be seen in these dialogues.
It was fun to read about Conan Doyle's visit to Thraxton Hall and how he tried to figure out how to prevent a foretold death from happening, because he had a lot to think about. He experienced interesting things at Thraxton Hall and heard disturbing things about its past. He also participated in the séances held by Lady Thraxton and saw ghosts.
In my opinion, the supernatural and macabre elements are slightly reminiscent of the elements found in the classic weird stories written by M.R. James. The author uses these elements exceptionally well and makes them an essential part of the story. There's a lot of old-fashioned charm in his approach to supernatural elements.
It's great that Vaughn Entwistle has understood that in order to write a good Victorial novel you have to use old words and sayings that were used in Victorian England. This is good, because it adds a fascinating touch of authenticity to the story.
The author's descriptions of Victorian London and Victorian way of life feel realistic. He has created a rich story that oozes atmosphere and style. He creates a wonderful sense of place and time by writing about what people do and how they live their lives. His vision of Victorian England is fascinatingly vivid.
Thraxton Hall is an unforgettable sight for readers, because at a distance it looks glorious, but up close it's a hideous and unwelcoming structure. Some parts of the house are in a severe state of disrepair. Thraxton Hall has a dark past and it is one of the most haunted houses in England. The author evokes a distinct image of a gothic house of horror by writing atmospherically about Thraxton Hall, its different places and its peculiar staff.
I like the author's clever sense of humour. He wonderfully adds humorous elements to the gradually unfolding story and entertains his readers with clever remarks and amusing dialogues. I'm sure that everybody who enjoys British humour will love his writing style.
If you're interested in Victorian mystery novels and paranormal mysteries, The Revenant of Thraxton Hall will please you very much, because it's a mesmerising combination of mystery elements and delightful British humour. It's a significant addition to the Victorian mystery fiction genre, because it's a masterfully executed story with a haunting touch of dark and twisted imagination.
Once you begin to read this novel, you won't be able to put it down, because you'll find yourself fully immersed in the story. It's such an addictive and intriguing reading experience that you'll want to read it in one sitting without any interruptions.
I highly recommend this brilliant and captivating novel to readers who love Victorian mystery fiction and enjoy reading about paranormal investigations, because the story is excellent and grabs hold of you from the very start. Please, make room for this novel in your reading schedule, because you won't regret reading it.
Excellent entertaiment - highly recommended!