Item description for The Riddle of the Traveling Skull by Harry Stephen Keeler & Paul Collins...
Overview Follows the adventures of a man lured by a poem and an odd handbag to search for the grave of Legga, the Human Spider.
The Collins Library is proud to present the triumphant return of Harry Stephen Keeler — to some, an overlooked genius; to others, the Ed Wood of detective fiction. The Riddle of the Traveling Skull is perhaps his best-loved work. The adventure begins when a poem and a mysterious handbag lead a man to the grave of Legga, the Human Spider — and things just get stranger from there.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 1" Width: 5.75" Height: 8.5" Weight: 1.3 lbs.
Release Date Dec 5, 2005
ISBN 1932416269 ISBN13 9781932416268
Reviews - What do customers think about The Riddle of the Traveling Skull?
Alas, not his best, but a good place to start May 22, 2008
Harry Stephen Keeler is an odd and interesting author. Not truly an "outsider" artist in the strictest (e.g.,Grandma Moses) sense--as he was clearly well educated as a writer--nevertheless, he is the possessor--if "possessor" be the word--of a truly odd and truly unique style. Not mysteries in the traditional "who-done-it" sense --in one story the family cats turn out to be the culprit, in another, two characters, both, it turns out, in disguise, unbeknownst to each other are each other; you figure it out--they, nevertheless, were marketed as such. Keeler's early novels (e.g., the Voice of the Seven Sparrows, The Spectacles of Mr. Cagliostro) are more adventure stories, with a surprising (and wholly unpredictable) denouement. His Later works devolved into the form of long conversations in which the "mystery" was described by one or more of the characters present. The other overriding feature of his works was his use of what he termed a "webwork" plot, in which multiple seemingly unrelated and unrelatable events and characters somehow are related in surprising and often unbelievable ways, all of which leads up to the denouement (think of the conclusion of season 3 of Lost). Keeler's style is distinct, as is his punctuation (he prefers the dash to almost any other mark) although it would be difficult to call him a good writer--he lacks the niceties of other mystery writes such as Hammitt, or Chandler, or even Spillane--nor is it proper to call him a noir writer as there is very little sex or violence and his protagonists are invariably good and innocent (often a little naive and even a bit dim). On the other hand he seems to prefer oddball characters, including lots of midgets, carnies, circus stars, etc, and oddball plots (mysterious death rays, strange wills, unusual safes, "oriental" lore, crazy corpses, mummies, trepanned skulls). There is much of this type of oddball in "Traveling Skull." And while it is not Keeler at his best (earlier) or oddest (later), it does furnish an enjoyable, affordable, available and characteristic introduction to this singular and dubiously worthy, if not "good" author.
The Riddle of Harry Stephen Keeler Sep 13, 2006
I wish I could give this book a simultaneous review of 5 and -5 stars. For those of you that don't know, Harry Stephen Keeler is considered by many to be the Ed Wood of mystery novelists. This book is classic Keeler, and if you're interested in this long forgotten and overlooked mystery author, this is the best and easiest place to start. (Almost all of Keeler's over 50(!) novels, remain out of print.) Keeler is weird and wildy creative, and maniacally strange. The characters include: Legga the Human Spider, Ichabod Chang, "Suing" Sophie Kratzenschneiderwumpel, and the Chinaman's skull. The plot is so confusing, convoluted, and filled with coincidences, that you will have no idea who the culprit is until the last sentence of the last paragraph of the last page! This is definitely NOT Agatha Christie or Raymond Chandler. But it's all the better because of it's flaws and eccentricities. This is a classic of what some would call "Trash" literature, and this is the best "trash lit" you're ever going to find. Plus McSweeneys has done such a great job reprinting this book, and keeping it affordable. (Hence the 5 Stars!)