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The Dream Detective by Sax Rohmer (Book Review)

The Dream Detective by Sax Rohmer offers nine stand-alone short stories to excite the imagination just in time for Halloween. From locked door mysteries to ghosts, occult, and Egyptian artifacts with a dollop of a good old fashioned murder mystery this book originally published in 1926 has stood the test of time.

In less than 200 pages, Rohmer takes us for a sleuthing adventure across ancient artifacts and curios under the guidance of his character, Max Klaw. From the back cover:

Klaw solves mysteries with his strange theories of the “Cycle of Crime,” the criminal history of all valuable relics, and his belief in the indestructible of thought. The Cycle of Crime is “as inevitable and immutable as the cycle of the ages. Man’s will has no power to check it.” Combined with this is the “art of the odic photograph.” “Thoughts are things,” Morris Klaw says, and proves it by his peculiar power, Rohmer writes, of “recovering from the atmosphere, the ether, call it what you will, the thought-forms– the ideas thrown out by by the scheming mind of the criminal.” In case after case these theories solve the unsolvable.

Assisted by his daughter, Isis and a specially sterilised pillow, Klaw enters into another world and sees before him a picture of what has transpired. How does he do this? Read the book and you will see.

I have always been fascinated by what dreams may tell us and was instantly intrigued by the title. When I came across it in Hobart Village, a book village in upstate New York, I had to have it.


For nine stories, this book followed me to the gym to the living room reading chair to the last hours before bed. It makes you think and though short, you must still dig in just a little deeper to get to the heart of the story.

Though not scary, in particular, this makes a great addition to your October reading list for a taste of things that go bump in the night – whether or not they are real, imagined, or the unimaginable.

Oh, and if you happen to be a fan of Fu Manchu, too, Sax Rohmer is his creator.

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Break a Pencil!

© Lisa Street Rogers 2018