East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Occult investigators

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I am sure I wrote in the past about how much I would have liked to write a series about a paranormal detective or an occult investigator. The sub-genre has a long and well-established tradition, and there’s a few excellent books out there, and quite a few series worth checking out.

Of all the collections out there, one of my favorite is probably Mark Valentine’s The Black Veil & Other Tales of Supernatural Sleuths, that Wordsworth Classics published in their line Tales of Mystery and the Supernatural. The stories in the volume are old – most of them are Victorian or Edwardian – and from lesser-known authors, but that’s part of the fun. A quick check on Amazon reveals that the book is no longer in print, and a copy can be had for 268,99 euro, plus postage. And to think my copy is here on a chair, under a tin of cookies…

But as luck would have it, in the end I did write not one, not two, but three (hopefully) series about supernatural detection.

The first series is set in the Third Century, and features centurion Nennius Britannicus and his boys. They first appeared as supporting characters in an Aculeo & Amunet story, and then went on to start in a series of their own. A first story was published in Occult Detective Quarterly, another was posted to my Patreon page, and currently a third story is being evaluated for publication. More will come – I’d like to pitch another story of the Boys to a mag by June.

The second series is set in late Victorian-early Edwardian times and features the delectable Valerie Trelawney, a character I had used in the past in long forgotten shorts stories in Italian, but whose English language debut will appear in the intriguingly titled Sherlock Holmes and the Occult Detectives, now that the Kickstarter closed with a great success. While the Nennius Britannicus stories are loosely based on police procedurals – say Hill Street Blues or Homicide, Life in the Streets, but with Egyptian magic – the Trelawney stories are proper cozy/Holmes-style English mysteries, but with Egyptian magic (I like Egyptian magic).
A second Trelawney story was posted to my Patrons, and again, there’s another one in the works.

And finally, I have just completed the first draft of a new occult detective story, using a character I did not create, but that I hope I’ll be able to follow in further adventures, should the first prove to be successful. In this case, I am dealing with a pulp/hard-boiled sort of detective, and a story set in 1938. This is Hammett/Chandler/Spillane territory, and – at least in the first story – there is no Egyptian magic. But just give me time, I already have motive and opportunity.

So, if it’s true the Chinese said, beware what you wish for, because your wishes might come true, it is also true that if we gear up towards a certain event we are really hope will happen, when the chance comes we’re ready, and we have a better opportunity of seeing our wishes come true.

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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