Friday, April 25, 2014

Dr. Holton, I Presume

For years I’ve been trying to find a goofy semi-gothic adventure romance novel I read as a kid. I used to ask periodically on DorothyL (does DorothyL still exist?) for help, and I would always get all these interesting but ultimately not useful suggestions. Since the only thing I could remember was a scene where someone throws something in the fireplace and it turns color and poisonous gas issues forth… Oh, no. I had the title. But it turns out the title was wrong. Somehow I believed the book was called Smile and Be a Villain.

I don’t know where I got that from. It turns out it was called The Gilded Sarcophagus (which sounds like something I would love, doesn’t it?) and it’s by Charlotte Hunt (Doris Marjorie Hodges). It’s amusing seeing Hunt’s author bio. It seems she wrote a lot of scholarly articles on the occult, etc. In purely mundane matters Miss Hunt is addicted to walking, cooking, tape recording, and Siamese cats.

We authors don’t change much through the ages, do we? Of course no one is a “Miss” anymore. And you don’t see a lot of authors addicted to “tape recording.”

Anyway, I read the description of the book -- which turned out to be first in a series (I did know there was a sequel, but a series!) and I decided to take a chance and I ordered about five different Hunt novels. So The Gilded Sarcophagus arrived last week, and I flipped through it and…

…the letter floated from my hand into the fire…

“Damn,” I muttered, and tried to snatch it back. But it already caught on, bursting into purple flame--a weird, evanescent flame. Suddenly my nostrils were flaring to the scent of some sickly, unknown perfume. A plume of white smoke puffed out, thick and suffocating, catching at my throat and making me want to retch.

So it turns out that this is a series about psychiatrist Paul Holton and his battle against Dr. Blackton and the mystic Circle of Ra.

The adventure begins…