While digging through the Nobel Archives in Stockholm, trying to figure out why his hero, Sigmund Freud, never received a Nobel Prize, a psychiatrist makes an unusual discovery. Among the unsolicited self-nominations in the museum's 'Crackpot' file, there are six letters addressed to Mr. Ragnar Sohlman, executor of Alfred Nobel's will. Remarkably, all but one is crafted by a different Nobel laureate - including Rudyard Kipling, Ivan Pavlov, Teddy Roosevelt and Marie Curie - and each is an explanation of why and how Stonehenge was constructed. Diligent research eventually uncovers that Alfred Nobel, intrigued by a young woman's obsession with the mysterious landmark, added a secret codicil to his will: 'a prize - reserved exclusively for Nobel laureates - was to be awarded to the person who solves the mystery of Stonehenge.'
But is this fact or is this fiction? Weaving together a wealth of primary documents - photos, letters, wills - The Stonehenge Letters acts as a wryly documented archive of a fascinating secret competition, complete with strange but illuminating submissions and a contentious prize-awarding process.
About the Author:
Harry Karlinsky is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of British Columbia. His first novel, The Evolution of Inanimate Objects (HarperCollins UK), was longlisted for the Wellcome Trust Book Prize.