DEAD MEN TELL TALES
The Strange Tale of the Oklahoma Mummy
John Lindley is a freelance poet, songwriter and creative writing tutor. An experienced performer, he has read at Ledbury Poetry Festival and at numerous other festivals around the UK. He runs workshops for writers' groups, and in prisons, schools, universities, day care centres and for those with learning difficulties. Widely published and a prizewinner in a number of international competitions, his poetry has also been broadcast on radio. His tenth and prizewinning collection of poetry, Love & Crossbones, was published in 2018. A second album of his songs, Trickery, Thieves & Luck was released in October 2020. He also performs his own songs in the band John Lindley & the Poachers for the benefit of various charities.
Paperback, 210 x 148mm, 42 pages
RRP £8.00 (our price in the UK including p&p)
Failed bank and train robber Elmer McCurdy did little to distinguish himself in life. Death, however, was a different matter. It was as a corpse that Elmer's career really took off.
In 1916 when he was killed in a gun-battle at the age of 31, Elmer's corpse was embalmed and displayed by the undertaker when it remained unclaimed. Subsequently the 'Oklahoma Mummy' underwent many adventures as a figure of fear and fun and a sideshow in fairgrounds; it even had a career as a grisly prop in cinema foyers, before being rescued in 1976 and returned to Oklahoma to be buried with full funeral rites — with a large block of concrete on the grave so that no-one could send McCurdy off on his travels again.
John Lindley tells the story of the twists and turns of Elmer McCurdy's strange life-after-death in this energetic, well-researched narrative sequence of poems, keeping the reader wondering and reading on in amazement, pity and ironic amusement.
“Few poets could add this much life to a corpse as brilliantly as John Lindley, and Elmer McCurdy was no ordinary corpse. Lindley pulls us from a 1976 autopsy room, through freak-shows and back to the old-west to hear tales around a metaphorical camp-fire of the life of a would-be robber who had more success as a corpse. Solemn, macabre, curious, sad; more than anything, this journey is full of humanity, as John's words of great pathos redeem our hapless outlaw and give Elmer the last laugh.”
— Mark Sheeky
"John Lindley has done it again. Demonstrating his range and accessibility with this stylish, witty and touching exploration of the commodification of life – and, more particularly, death. Here is wordplay like gunplay and a macabre tale we can all enjoy while teasing out the rhythms. It’s a Lazarus wind…"
— Mike Drew
'Dead Men Tell Tales' by John Lindley is available from 15th September 2021: priced at £8.00, postage free within the UK.
For sales outside the UK, or for a signed copy, please contact John Lindley through his website www.johnflindley.wordpress.com