Friday, January 28, 2011

The Doom of the Haunted Opera

The Doom of the Haunted Opera was the fourth book left unfinished by John Bellairs at the time of his death. Author Brad Strickland worked from the notes left behind to create a spooky story which features an abandoned Opera House where a sinister piece of music, The Day of Doom will make its debut, despite a ghostly warning not to play it. Once the music is played, the dead will be awakened and the composer's evil grandson will become King of the Dead!

The book was published in 1995 by Dial Books for Young Readers and features a wrap around dust jacket design and frontis illustration by Edward Gorey. The back cover of the dust jacket is particularly colorful. Using a dream sequence for inspiration (don't most dreams play out in black and white?), Lewis and Rose Rita are shown being set upon by headless opera goers and bats! One of my favorite characters in this book is a cat that whistles - a feline that Edward Gorey would certainly have taken a liking to.

When this book was published, I was offered the three pieces of original artwork by Mr. Gorey. Unfortunately, at this time the prices for Mr. Gorey's art were jumping significantly - in fact the price for this art was double what earlier art from the series had been priced at just two years previously - so I could not add this art to my collection. I do still have the full size xeroxes sent to me by Gotham Book Mart, which I am showing to the right.

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