(5 stars out of 5)
Death hounds, shape shifters, and vampires are among the patients treated by the Holmes-like Dr. Taverner and his assistant Dr. Rhodes in this work of supernatural fiction by acclaimed spiritualist and occult writer Dion Fortune.
First published in 1926, the adventures of Dr. Taverner and Dr. Rhodes take readers across the marshy moonlit fields of nightfall, hunting spirits and keeping watch over souls. Suffering from vampirism? Being stalked by a death hound? Haunted by past life debts? Family under a suicidal curse? From across the countryside patients and their desperate families come to seek treatment for unconventional diseases from an unconventional doctor. His secret? Treating the diseases of the occult.
Though Fortune wrote The Secrets of Doctor Taverner as her first novel, she maintained that all the events were based on true occurrences. Many believe Taverner to be Fortune’s own spiritual teacher, Dr. Moriarty, and Rhodes to be based on Fortune herself.
An essential and fun read for anyone interested in the Western Mystery Tradition, Dion Fortune, the melding of medicine and magic, or just good old-fashioned paranormal fiction.
Dion Fortune (1891-1946), founder of The Society of the Inner Light, is recognized as one of the most luminous figures of 20th-century esoteric thought. A prolific writer, pioneer psychologist, powerful psychic, and spiritualist, she dedicated her life to the revival of the Western Mystery Tradition. She was also a member of the Order of the Golden Dawn, whose members included at various times such people as A.E. Waite, Aleister Crowley, and W.B. Yeats.
Take a little of Poe’s detective Dupin, add a touch of the occult, and mix with psychology and you get The Secrets of Dr. Taverner. Fortune managed to hit most of my interests with this series of short stories. I really enjoy fiction and mysteries, and it’s a pure joy to read something written by an author who knows the occult.
Dr. Taverner runs a very unconventional sanitarium. He uses his training in the esoteric arts and psychology to solve cases that would stump other doctors. The stories give you an up close look at the esoteric movement of the early 20th century.
It’s a fantastic introduction to Dion Fortune’s work.I would suggest reading Fortune’s Psychic Self Defense after this book. I started with Fortune’s The Demon Lover last year and that book sent me to the bookstores for an arm-full of her work (Oh, how the bookstores love me).
I give The Secrets of Doctor Taverner 5 stars out of 5.