John Paulits has been writing fiction for over thirty years but rarely has his writing caused as much controversy as his latest novel – The Mystery of Charles Dickens. History records that on June 9, 1870, Charles Dickens died of a cerebral haemorrhage. History, says Paulits, however, is wrong. June 9, 1870, is the day on which Emile de la Rue murdered Charles Dickens. His publishers have said that they’ve never had so many review copies requests – mainly from Dickens clubs and societies around the world.
The novel suggests that during a stay in Genoa in 1844-45, Charles Dickens, an accomplished mesmerist, used his mesmeric abilities to treat a young Englishwoman, Augusta de la Rue. He was attempting to cure a years’ long malady of hers that included facial spasms and phantom-filled dreams. During her trances she revealed to Dickens a horrible truth she had long suppressed about her husband. Dickens, at that time, was helpless to act on the devastating admission, but twenty-five years later Emile de la Rue shows up in London, and Dickens finally seeks justice.
The introduction to the story describes the final four days of Dickens’ life. The author, a Dickens scholar, explains how he came across a tucked-away John Forster (Dickens’ closest friend and first biographer) manuscript of a tale told him by Dickens–a tale of mesmerism and murder–and the old diary of Emile de la Rue, the man who murdered Charles Dickens. Finally, since mesmerism plays such a crucial role in the story, a brief afterward gives a concise history of mesmerism and how it reached Dickens.
Paulits has won several awards for his fiction in the past. His science fiction novel HOBSON’S PLANET was an Eppie award nominee in 2009. His children’s novel PHILIP AND THE BOY WHO SAID, “HUH?” won the Mayhaven Publishing Award for Fiction in 2000. His children’s novel PHILIP AND THE SUPERSTITION KID was voted best children’s book of 2010 in a readers poll conducted by Preditors and Editors.
Paulits formerly taught elementary school in New York City and now writes full time. A born and bred Philadelphian, he lives in New York City and Brigantine, New Jersey. He is married and has one daughter.
The Mystery of Charles Dickens is available from all good bookstores including: