This novel, the first of Boucher’s duo (bilogy?) featuring amateur detective Sister Ursula, both written as by H.H. Holmes (a moniker of a prolific 19th-century serial killer), is quite openly an homage to the work of John Dickson Carr: it’s dedicated to Carr and the best part of one of its chapters is devoted to an analysis of Carr’s famous “locked-room lecture” in The Hollow Man (1935; vt The Three Coffins). It reads rather like a Carr novel too, although it lacks some of the sprightliness, the sense of the Gothic and the constantly threatened iconoclasm — in fact, it’s percolated with a heavy dash of Catholicism.
Wolfe Harrigan makes a profession out of exposing religious charlatans and cultists. His principal current targets are Continue reading