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Voodoo Power

John Esteven. Voodoo. A Murder Mystery. (1930)

Recording this striking jacket of the UK edition of a book just sold to a 'locked room mystery' collector in the USA. From the Donald Rudd collection of detective fiction the book also has fantasy elements ('a modern day Dracula') and listed in Bleiler's Checklist of Science Fiction and Supernatural Fiction. The Voodoo element is apparently of Cuban origin and the book is discussed by Gary Rhodes in his examination of the genre White Zombies. He quotes these lines:

 'Belonging to no race, I chose the race your white law thrust on me. I found its essence in the voodoo cult, and sought to make of this a weapon and a flame. Hatred has its gods. I serve them. For with their power, I was able to quicken and restore old practices and rites.'

The author's real name was Samuel Shellabarger (1888-1954) who also wrote as Peter Loring. A high born American he taught at Princeton, wrote novels and biographies and in the last decade of his life produced a series of historical novels which with the help of Hollywood netted him 1.5 million dollars.

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