Valdemar’s Daughter, by Brian Stableford, is published by Wildside Press together in one volume with The Mad Trist, 2010. Also available singly as a kindle download.
This novella, set in Paris, 1866, has the same narrator as The Legacy of Erich Zann. Yet again, Mr Poe’s American correspondent and Auguste Dupin are called upon to solve a puzzling murder.
Dupin is interested in the developing science of animal magnetism, and has been observing how some charlatans have used the theory and practice of mesmerism to mislead the gullible. One person willing to pay for dubious spiritual cures is the famous writer Honoré de Balzac. Dupin understands the dangers of belief in this kind of magic, although still wishing to preserve the writers’ health.
The arrival in Paris of the unusual remains of Mr Valdemar, who is finally, completely dead, is of potential interest to many. Since Mr Poe published a sensationalist account of the events preceding Valdemar’s death, efforts have been made to pass it off as fiction, so further developments have been kept secret. It is left to Dupin and his rationally-minded friend to uncover the secrets and ambitions of Valdemar’s daughter. In the process, they are led to consider what they know about mesmerism, and what that might imply, thus providing a fascinating study for interested readers.
Review by Sally Startup