Holmes Book Cover 1

Sherlock Holmes vs Dracula (or The Adventure of the Sanguinary Count) – by Loren D. Estleman – 1978

From the blurb:

‘A ship is discovered adrift off the English coast, its crew missing, its murdered captain lashed to the wheel, and its only passenger a sinister black dog. This impenetrable mystery is clearly a case for the inimitable Sherlock Holmes, but for the first time in his illustrious career the great detective is baffled. Clearly the crew have been murdered and dumped overboard, but what can account for the captain’s expression of imponderable terror and for the acute loss of blood, or the ship’s strange cargo – fifty boxes of earth?

It is only when, a month later, several small children are found wandering on Hampstead Heath with tiny punctures in their throats, that Holmes begins to realise the gruesome implications. For, like the captain, the children exhibit an inordinate lack of blood, and can only remember meeting a ‘bloofer lady’ in white. So the game is afoot, and Sherlock Holmes, aided as ever by the faithful Watson, finds himself on the trail of no mortal man, but the arch-vampire himself, Count Dracula…

From the impalement of the Bloofer Lady to the abduction of Watson’s beloved wife, Mary, from the death of a harmless prostitute to a terrifying confrontation on a lonely beach, this posthumous memoir is at once a glorious celebration of two of the most famous literary genres, a rivetting thriller with sensational climaxes, and an adventure that will delight all Holmes and Dracula lover everywhere.’

From the back:

“You think that you have faced all the terrors that the world has to offer, Sherlock Holmes, but you have barely scratched the surface. Jonathan Harker was driven mad by but a few of the myriad forces that are mine to command. He was fortunate. Even as we stand here, those forces are gathering, responding to my unspoken instructions with but one purpose in mind: to destroy all obstacles which stand in my path. From icy graves they arise, from gallows and tombs, for all that die are my agents. They are the army of the dead. How may one mortal expect to triumph over such an enemy?”

“Bogey tales ceased to frighten me many years ago,” said the detective… “I think I have heard enough. You may show our visitor to the door, Watson.”

…Gathering his cloak about him, Count Dracula turned and swung open the door. Halfway through the doorway he stopped and fixed Holmes with a bestial glance. “There are far worse things than death, Mr. Holmes. Persist, and I promise you that you will find out what I mean.”

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