Sometime in the year 1848, according to bohemian legend, Edgar Allan Poe wandered about Greenwich village in a drunken stupor and took shelter for three nights in a windowless room at Madam Clegbourne's boarding house at 72 Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village, New York City. Madam Clegbourne, a well known spiritualist in the village, claimed to her friends that Mr. Poe had pilfered a chunk of charcoal from the stove and used it to create the sketch of a window on the wall of ...
Sometime in the year 1848, according to bohemian legend, Edgar Allan Poe wandered about Greenwich village in a drunken stupor and took shelter for three nights in a windowless room at Madam Clegbourne's boarding house at 72 Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village, New York City.
Madam Clegbourne, a well known spiritualist in the village, claimed to her friends that Mr. Poe had pilfered a chunk of charcoal from the stove and used it to create the sketch of a window on the wall of one of her rooms. The Madam later made the shocking claim that the window was a portal to the spirit world. Her claim was greeted with derision and skepticism.
A year later, upon learning of Mr. Poe's untimely death in a Baltimore hospital, Madam Clegbourne prepared a candlelit shrine to the late poet and forbade anyone to enter the Poe Room other than herself. She made another claim that she received the spirit of the late poet and conducted readings of his work on Thursday nights in a meeting room above Granby's Book Store for the benefit of the members of the Edgar Allan Poe Literary Society. Over time, she developed a wide reputation as giving a brilliant performance as the late poet.
Some more years passed, and by the year 1857, Madam Clegbourne and her stepson, Donovan O'Mara, had established a very lucrative trade in satisfying the sexual needs of wealthy widows. The Madam claimed to conjure up the spirit of the widow's departed husband so that he could possess the handsome young body of Donovan O'Mara. This allowed the widow to share a night of pleasure with her departed husband's spirit.
One night in late March, 1857, the Widow Tremble came to call and wished to make contact with her departed husband's spirit. The widow was regarded with suspicion by the young stepson who felt put upon by his stepmother to pleasure these women for his stepmother's profit.
Donovan was convinced the widow was not who she appeared to be or was she even a she? Was it all a charade, or a sick joke played upon the Madam and her stepson that led to murder? Perhaps it was part of a scheme devised by Miles Becker, the playwright who lived next door and presented his work at the adjacent Mercer Street Playhouse. Was Miles hoping to create drama out of real life for the plot of his new play about the Madam and the mysterious goings on at the Clegbourne boarding house?
Rose Devlin was the frightened and unsuspecting actress who was chosen to fill the role of Madam Clegbourne in Miles Becker's new production. As the only other female resident of the Clegbourne boardinghouse, Rose felt put upon by the lecherous and conceited stepson, Donovan. Did she have the motive or the means to commit murder to protect herself from Donovan's unsolicited advances?
On that same fateful day in late March 1857, Michael Krukov, a sailor who had just jumped ship, came to the Madam's house seeking lodgings despite hearing the rumors that the Clegbourne boarding house was haunted by the victims of the mad Madam and that she ruled over her boarders like a vicious queen.
If only the poor sailor had minded his own business. He soon discovered that there was a murder committed in the house during the first night of his stay in the Clegbourne boarding house. He knew who was guilty, but he never got a chance to tell his story to the coppers. Was he another victim of the mad plotting and scheming among the residents of the Clegbourne boarding house and it's queen, Madam Clegbourne? Had all the members of the house become possessed by evil spirits who had traveled through Edgar's Window from the dark side?
John Sheehan has created a new hybrid of Historical Fiction with this mystery novel set in New York City in 1857. Few historical novels feature gay characters and situations blended with some satirical elements that give this novel a distinct tongue in cheek flavor.
John has been writing historical fiction for nearly 20 years and is proud to call San Francisco his home. John is also an accomplished artist and created the cover illustration for the novel as well as creating the interior illustrations.
John has five other historical novels that will be on sale along with Edgar's Window in the very near future. Watch out for Dark Sabbath and the four part series about the Irish immigrant experience,titled: Billy'O, Lost in the Promised Land, Books I-IV.