Bookish Mysteries and Conspiracies

Hi everyone! I’m heading out of town this week so hopefully I’ll get some reading done. Since it is October, however, I decided to compile a list for you all about real life crimes and mysteries surrounding famous authors and/or their novels. I’ll leave links with more information if you find yourself intrigued. Let me know if I missed any or if you have a favorite. I love true crime as much as I love fictional crime.

The Life, Death, and Drama of Edgar Allan Poe: Poe, my favorite author lived a life that was just as macabre as any of his stories. Did he predict a real life ship wreck? Was his death a suicide, an accident, or a murder? Who paid tribute to him years after his death? To this day, we may never know the real story behind the godfather of gothic fiction.

The Disappearance (and Discovery) of Agatha Christie: In December of 1926, famous mystery author Agatha Christie disappeared in the early hours of the morning for eleven days. She remembered absolutely nothing and was found in perfectly good health. Many have speculated as to what happened but no one knows the answer except Christie herself. (Note: Doctor Who did an episode about Christie’s disappearance called “The Unicorn and The Wasp.” I highly recommend it.)

Did Shakespeare Even Exist?: This is quite possibly of one the oldest and most famous author related-mysteries. Is it possible that the greatest playwright of all time never actually existed? Theories range from Shakespeare being a collective group of people, a single female author, or even the pseudonym of Sir Francis Bacon. The topic is still up for debate.

The Voynich Manuscript aka The Most Mysterious Book Ever Written: Named after its discoverer, the Voynich Manuscript is a codex written in an unknown language and filled with illustrations that seem to be of an alien planet. Many have tried to decipher this book but no one has been successful. Who (or what) wrote the Voynich Manuscript?

The Disappearance of Ambrose Bierce: Years before Christie disappeared and reappeared, Ambrose Bierce took a trip to Mexico and never returned. Most known for his psychological horror stories, Bierce captured America’s imagination during the Civil War then he vanished into thin air. No one knows what happened to him and his body was never found.

Was Albert Camus Killed by the KGB?: Albert Camus, author of The Stranger and a Nobel Prize winner, was killed in a car accident on his way to visit his family, or was he? A new theory has emerged that Camus was killed by the KGB after publishing an article that criticized Russia’s military. Is there more to Camus’ death or was it simply a tragic accident?

The Book Sent by the Angels Themselves: John Dee, famous mathematician and occultist, found the Book of Soyga. This manuscript consists of 40,000 randomly distributed letters and, when decoded, reveals magic spells, astrological charts, and alchemy. Dee claims to have contacted the archangel Uriel in order to reveal the secrets of the book. Also, legend has it that anyone who decodes the book will perish in two-and-a-half years.








Book Scandals: They’re more common than you think

I just came across a pretty wild story regarding a YA novel titled Handbook for Mortals. If you google search the book, a pretty legit looking cover pops up and even an Amazon link. Seems normal, right? Well, the problem is that no one had ever heard of this book. It became the number one best seller on the New York Times and displaced Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give. Since this story is so wild, I’m going to leave a link to it here and link some other stories about literary scandals that may involve the content of the novel, the author, plagiarizing, or any number of issues. I feel like this will be fun to read for any of you that might be interested.

Note: I cannot guarantee that these links will provide all of the details but I will make sure the sources are decent and that they contain as many facts as possible.

The Handbook for Mortals: A best selling book that never existed – You YA lit lovers are going to love this story

A Million Little Piecesor the book that fooled Oprah – Making it onto Oprah’s book list would be a big deal for any author. James Frey received this honor for his “memoir” about a twenty three-year-old drug addict and his recovery. Unfortunately, much of the events never even happened.

The YouTube Ghost Writers – For anyone of you who are up to date on internet stars, you know that a wave of autobiographies of these creators hit the shelves and have sold in the millions. Well, some people were so desperate to cash in that they secretly hired ghost writers in order to get in on the market. (Each word in this title is a different link btw)

Poe v Longfellow – This is an old one but a good one that involves two famous of the most famous American authors accusing each other of plagiarism.

The Curse of The Catcher In The Rye – JD Salinger’s most famous novel has been tied to many infamous crimes, including the assassination of John Lennon, the murder of Rebecca Schaeffer, and an assassination attempt on former US President, Ronald Reagan.

Decoding The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown is most well known for his thriller novels that take on the mysteries of the Roman Catholic church. His most famous novel, however, tackled these already debatable topics with inaccuracy in most of the story. (I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t like these books as a kid)

Lolita In The Middle – The narrator of this novel is a pedophile and then it goes downhill from there.