In London in the year 1916, an ailing Sherlock Holmes is attended by his old friend and colleague Dr. John Watson. Sensing that time is short, Holmes relays one final, remarkable story to his biographer, that of Holmes’s own mentor, Professor Harry Nelson Beadle.
In 1874 thirty-year-old Professor Beadle, laureate at Cambridge University with degrees in biology, anthropology, and sociology, is widely respected by faculty and students alike. But the Professor’s obsession with his theories concerning the cross-evolution of humans and insects—Beautiful Monsters—proves to be his undoing. Based on a spurious piece of evidence, the Professor spends three years researching and writing a tome, which is eventually published to some acclaim. But the price is high; his obsession costs the Professor his position at the University, his wife, and his young daughter.
Richard Beam, an American, a former student, and an unwitting participant in the deceit, belatedly reveals the terrible truth to the Professor: that the empirical evidence was fake!
Thus begins a forty-year odyssey in which Professor Beadle, aided and abetted by his former student, searches the world for the thousand printed copies of his book—buying, begging, and sometimes stealing them, with the goal of eventually destroying every last copy. But their disastrous misadventures begs the question, could the book—with its terrible invocation of insect-men—be cursed?
In his quest to erase “this published monument to my own stupidity,” the Professor and Beam cross paths with an odd assortment of characters, including Thomas Edison, a giant, George Méliès, and on the final leg of their bizarre journey, Sherlock Holmes himself.
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BRIAN ANTHONY is a writer and award-winning filmmaker. As a writer-producer Anthony has contributed to shows for American Movie Classics, Arts and Entertainment and Fox Syndication. He has co-authored four novels and contributed to numerous others. A veteran film historian, Anthony has been interviewed on network television regarding film history, and co-authored the acclaimed biography of film comedian Charley Chase, “Smile When the Raindrops Fall.”
BILL WALKER is an award-winning writer whose works include novels, short stories and screenplays. His first novel, Titanic 2012, was enthusiastically received by readers, and Bill’s two short story collections, Five-Minute Frights and Five-Minute Chillers, are perennial Halloween favorites. A highly-respected graphic designer, Walker has worked on books by such luminaries as Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Dean Koontz and Stephen King. His most recent novel, Abe Lincoln On Acid was published in 2016.