Vaugn Entwistle's Magnetic Sleep was published in 2021.
About Vaughn Entwistle:
Vaughn Entwistle is a British author who grew up in Northern England. After the family moved to the United States, he attended Oakland University in Michigan where he earned a Master’s Degree in English.
In the early nineties he moved to Seattle to work as a writer/editor. In his spare time he ran a successful gargoyle-sculpting company for ten years (yes, really!). Entwistle has published poetry and fiction in a number of small literary journals and won awards for screenplays and novels.
His novel The Angel of Highgate garnered outstanding reviews from the Historical Novel Society, Kirkus Reviews, Lit Reactor, Starburst Magazine, The Consulting Detective, Crime Review, Rising Shadows, and The Literary Review, amongst many others and was shortlisted for the 2015 Gothic Novel of the Year by the London-based Dracula Society.
His Paranormal Casebooks series has been favourably reviewed by The British Fantasy Society, Historical Novel Society, the Book Blog, The Book Garden, Rising Shadow and many more.
Click here to visit his official website.
About Magnetic Sleep:
During a sultry London summer, the capitol is stricken by an outbreak of what newspapers soon dub “Sleepwalking Hysteria.” Strangely, nearly all the somnambulists are lissome young ladies from good homes. Stranger still, many of the sleepwalkers are committing crimes including burglary and arson, while others simply vanish into the night, never to be seen again.
Arthur Conan Doyle and Oscar Wilde are swept up in the case when they try to rescue one such somnambulist only to watch her plummet to her death. As eye witnesses they become embroiled in an investigation that involves white slavers, a music hall hypnotist with a magnetic attraction to the ladies, a bumbling Police Inspector named Crumpet, a muck-racking young reporter from the Illustrated Police News, and a suspicious foreigner — a psychiatrist who claims he can decipher the mysteries of the mind and knows the secrets of hypnosis.
His name — Sigmund Freud.
The stakes are raised when the wives of both authors succumb to the sleepwalking hysteria and vanish on the same night. With the fate of both women in jeopardy, our Victorian super-sleuths race to solve the mystery before their loved ones become the next victims of “Sleepwalking Hysteria.”
REVIEW: MAGNETIC SLEEP BY VAUGHN ENTWISTLE
Vaughn Entwistle's Magnetic Sleep is the fourth book in The Paranormal Casebooks of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle series. It's an excellent and highly enjoyable book and will please everybody who loves good mystery stories with speculative fiction elements. To be honest, I think that this is the best book in the series so far, because the story is utterly gripping and sufficiently sinister to please readers who love dark stories.
Because it's possible that there may be readers out there who are not familiar with Vaughn Entwistle, I want to mention that he is an author you should get yourself acquainted with as soon as possible, because his books and stories are entertaining and worth reading. I personally consider him to be one of the best modern authors of Victorian mystery fiction, because his way of combining mystery elements, speculative fiction and humorous scenes works perfectly. He has never let me down with his fiction, but has always delivered excellent stories (he seems to enjoy writing fiction and aims to entertain his readers).
Magnetic Sleep begins with a young woman sleepwalking along the rooftops of London. She enters a building and steals a necklace... Meanwhile, Arthur Conan Doyle and Oscar Wilde are travelling to O'Houlihans, which has a curated collection of best whiskeys produced on the British Isles. As Oscar educates his friend on the finer elements of whiskey tasting, they are interrupted by the sound of police whistles and step outdoors to see what is happening. They are informed by the police that a young woman is about to jump from atop a building. When they decide to go and rescue her, they notice that she's a sleepwalker. Unfortunately, their heroic rescue attempt fails and the young woman falls toward the pavement and dies... A few moments later, a young man and old woman briefly discuss about the young woman has fallen to her death and the woman asks the driver to load an instrument quickly to the carriage...
This intriguing opening beckons the reader to step into a Victorian world where strange things happen and the protagonists are faced with a weird mystery involving mysterious somnambulism, hypnotism and disappearing young women.
I admire the author for coming up with an original and intriguing story that has many twists and turns. His story is satisfyingly fresh and compelling, not to mention humorous and also approriately chilling. I was especially impressed by the freshness of the story and the effortless flow of the prose. There's a touch of lightness to the prose that is utterly charming. I also want to mention that I was pleased with the fine balance between dark and humorous elements.
The characterisation is fluent and engaging, because the cast of characters is diverse and the author writes about them in an intriguing way. The characters range from the protagonists and their wives to reporters, inspectors and criminals.
Here are a few words about some of the characters:
- Billy, the reporter for the Illustrated Police News, is an interesting young man who is eager to do his work and publish news. He has a nose for news and is always the first one on the scene. I enjoyed reading about him, because his character brings freshness to the story.
- Inspector Crumpet is also an intriguing and well-created character. He's a man who's always eating something. His over-eating borders on the line of being utterly obsessive and severely unhealthy, because he can't seem to control his culinary urges.
- It's great that the wives of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Oscar Wilde - Jean Doyle and Constance Wilde - are featured in this book. It was interesting to read about how they talked about their husbands and their love lives, because the conversation was simultaneously entertaining and achingly honest. I have to mention that the scene in which both women go to the theatre is highly entertaining and also surprising, because it has repercussions on them.
- The author's way of writing about Sigmund Freud is simply brilliant. He doesn't shy away from Freud's sexual interpretations, but introduces him to readers as a man who seems to believe that everything is connected to sexuality and repressed sexual urges. The scene in the restaurant between Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Sigmund Freud is one of the highlights of this book, because it demonstrates what kind of a person Freud is and how he interacts with people.
- Morpheus is also an excellent character. The author has created him well, because he is a mysterious man who has an ability to hypnotise and control people. I won't go into details about him and what he does, but I can mention that the parts of the story that are connected to him and his mysterious and dangerous female companion, Madame Xylander, are well executed.
Just like with the previous instalments, there's something charmingly British about this book that I find difficult to resist. I especially enjoy the author's impeccable ability to evoke a distinct feel of an age gone by. The Victorian atmosphere and way of life are brought vividly to life in this book by the author's fluent writing and sense of style.
I find the author's sense of humour amusing and clever. He succeeds in infusing the story with humorous elements that support the story and make for an entertaining read. The way he writes about some of the characters, their traits and their various deeds is simply amazing, because he has an eye for details.
If you have a taste for mystery stories and enjoy gripping stories with entertaining scenes, you must read Vaughn Entwistle's Magnetic Sleep. It's one of the best books available for those who love Victorian mystery stories. By the way, if you're not already familiar with the previous books, I urge you to read them as soon as possible, because they're also excellent entertainment (you won't regret reading these books).