The story first appeared as an eight part serial in a weekly magazine in 1862, and was subsequently published as a single volume novel in 1865.
The story deals with the then newly emerging field of 'mesmerism' which we now know as hypnotism, and its use in the planning and execution of three truly devious crimes. The novel, unsually, is written wholly in the form of a series of letters and reports gathered by the investigator from the various witnesses in the case, and the reader is left to decide themselves the guilt or otherwise of the chief suspect. (summary by Kevin Green)
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