A review by Joey Madia
As much as I enjoy writing book reviews, some are more special than others. Not only is this my two-hundredth; it’s on a subject near and dear to my heart—the art and craft of paranormal investigation. Factor in the additional aspect of it celebrating one of the most haunted places in the world—meticulously and dare I say lovingly documented by a true professional in our field—and this review is very special indeed.
Keeping in mind that this is book one of a trilogy that Strickland has written over the past decade about the Queen Mary, and that she is a frequent walker among Mary’s hallowed and haunted passageways and decks, it’s hard to do the length and breadth of Strickland’s work justice in a two-page review, so I’ve decided to highlight the methodology of the book, which overlaps with best practice for any long-term investigation of a haunted place, such as the two-year exploration of the Webb Memorial Library my wife Tonya and I undertook from 2016 to 2018, which also culminated in a book.
As Strickland often reminds us, hauntings are tied to place—be it land, a building, or a luxury liner. With this truism in mind, the author treats the reader to the history of the ship, from her builder, Cunard, to her sister ships; to her careful design and construction; to her impressive history in times of war and peace. This is essential reading to have proper context for the stories behind the hauntings she reports later in the book—experiences that are both her own and others’ (an essential mix when looking for parallels and patterns and evaluating anecdotal evidence). The scholarship’s impressive and the details rich (the final part of the book provides lists of famous passengers, ship captains, number and roles of the crew, room lists, and other details for the reader wanting to go deeper). Strickland has an energetic narrative style that keeps the pages turning as she unfolds the history of this mammoth of the sea in the prewar and war years of the 1930s and 1940s. If you love films, TV shows, and documentaries about the fabled Titanic, this book will open up for you a whole new window into the luxury liner industry. Continue reading