The Adventure of The Three Rippers in Sherlock Holmes And The Occult Detectives Vol. 1

Berlanger Books has released Sherlock Holmes and The Occult Detectives, featuring Holmes interacting with a variety of paranormal investigators.

Fans of Terovolas may recall Professor Abraham Van Helsing making an aside reference to having crossed paths with Holmes and Watson.  In Volume 1 of this new series, you’ll learn the particulars of that momentous meeting, as it features Van Helsing and Holmes in ‘The Adventure of The Three Rippers.’

This takes place in 1888, a number of years before the events of Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Terovolas of course, and features a excerpts from Van Helsing’s papers relating to his heretofore unrevealed pursuit of a lunatic who attacked his wife, herself a long time patient at the Het Dolhuys facility in Haarlem.

This entry, taken from the narrative included in Belanger Books’ anthology, gives us an intimate look at the brilliant professor’s mindset at the time, and is followed by Dr. John Watson’s complimentary narrative account.

——————-

From the Journal of Professor Abraham Van Helsing (translated from the original Dutch)

5th November.

Van Voorhees yet eludes me. My sabbatical from the university draws to a close. I have secured an engagement lecturing The Physiological Society Friday morning which will extend my stay in London, but it is not enough. God, am I to be foiled in the end by lack of resources? Inspector Swanson has promised to solicit my services should the need arise, yet I know he is dubious of their worth. My room here is fast draining my funds. I am tempted to take up John’s kindly offer to stay in Purfleet, but I fear it would take me far from my purpose. Van Voorhees is very near. Three days until the eighth. He must strike again.

I had a peculiar dream last night. I saw his face, tiny in the corner of the eye of the guiltless, wretched janitor, a scheming homunculus leering as he directed the blade toward my dear wife’s throat like a man looking out of the glass in a pilot house.

In the manner of dreams, I next saw the honey-colored Anglican peripteros with its prominent circular spire, which has been my daily scenery since my arrival here in Marleybone. Majestic between the Corinthian pillars, like the legendary quarry of Wodan’s hunt, a great hooved, pitch-black stag stood pawing the stone steps.

I awoke to the sonorous bell of All Soul’s echoing the call to morning mass across the street.
Image result for all souls maryleboneI shall take the air. It is frustrating to know he is somewhere in this city, one among millions and yet, is there any more vile? He is a devil inside a man inside a man. But which man? Or which woman, for that matter?

He watches the women as I watch for him, both of us eager to be about our work.

If I could but predict his next act – but I am no medium, and even less a detective.

God grant me aid.

——————————–

Of course, this story also concerns the legendary Sherlock Holmes, and as such, I have supplemented Van Helsing’s journal entries with the writings of his longtime colleague Dr. John Hamish Watson as they pertain to Van Helsing’s London adventure, to corroborate the validity of the Professor’s account.

I must here express my gratitude to the Watson family estate for allowing me access to these previously unpublished writings, which, due to their fantastic nature, were never relinquished to Holmes’ unofficial biographer at The Strand, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, even though they shed light on the activities of London’s most famous consulting detective during the events of one of the city’s most heinous crime sprees.

——————–
The alacritous ricochet of a violin bounded up Baker Street as I strolled toward our rooms. I noticed more than a few of the passersby touching their ears and grimacing as they directed their collective annoyance up at the open window of 221B, where I discerned the silhouette of Holmes sawing furiously at his instrument.

Paganini’s Arpeggio is of course, not readily to the layman’s taste, even when played expertly. I confess to not being fond of it myself. There was something to Holmes’ playing this afternoon which added to its discordance. By the time I had ascended the stair and come into the drawing room, I knew what.

He was in his shirt sleeves, and the morocco case sat open on the mantelpiece.

My friend had been in a state of idle melancholy for the better part of a week, due to some matter which he would not confide in me. I perceived it was related to the infamous Ripper case.

Holmes of course, had been involved in the affair prior to our departure for Dartmoor, back when the fledgling killer’s tally yet numbered two. He had been summarily dismissed from the investigation after a row with Sir Charles Warren, the Chief Commissioner. Two years ago, Sir Charles’ near-fanatic enforcement of an edict to muzzle dogs had resulted in an overzealous constable clubbing one pitiable cur to death on our very stoop. The incident had soured Holmes on the man. Displeased with Sir Charles’ comparatively middling dedication to the Ripper case, Holmes had excoriated him that if he only pursued the murderer with as much zeal as he chased down stray dogs, the women of Whitechapel could breathe easy.

There was assuredly a political element to his dismissal as well. The police simply did not want their most famous case solved by a civilian.

I knew though, that Holmes had in some way defied the injunction, and kept me at arms’ length during his private investigations so as to shield me from reprimand should they be discovered.

He had been in constant contact with some person or persons very close to the case. I had seen him scrutinizing the handwriting of the letters reportedly sent by the killer to the Central News Agency, which he received via courier, and a driver I privately questioned admitted to me that Holmes had visited Whitechapel so many nights in the past few weeks he was worried his passenger might actually be the Ripper.

Since the end of October, however, Holmes had retreated into indolence, or rather, as much indolence as his vigorous mind was capable of. He pored over his volumes, scraped at his violin, and succumbed to his more unworthy habits.

As I took off my coat, I surreptitiously peered into the morocco case and saw that the last of his tinctures was drained.

He stopped his playing upon perceiving me, and sparing one last look out the window, returned his instrument to its case.

“We shall have a new problem before us soon, Watson,” he said without preamble, rolling down his left sleeve and shouldering into his jacket.

“Ah?” I replied, and privately thought that a new conundrum to occupy Holmes’ troubled brain could not come fast enough. “How soon?”

Presently there was a knock on the chamber door. Holmes allowed himself a thin smile and bid the client enter as he settled into his chair.

An extraordinary looking gentleman entered. He wore shoulder length hair and a drooping, insistent mustache, and was dressed in a fringed top coat of tanned leather, and knee high gaiters of yellow deerskin, over dungaree trousers and a pair of high heeled boots. His bibbed shirt front was adorned with a number of badges, so many that one had retired to the crown of his wide brimmed hat, which the man wore cocked at a slant. I should say that a colorful kerchief tied about his neck capped off his unique appearance, but that honor surely belonged to the shining, overlarge, ivory-handled revolver thrust brazenly through his wide belt.

The man doffed his hat upon entering. His smile barely poked out from behind his whiskers.

“Which of you gentlemen is Mr. Sherlock Holmes?” he drawled slowly, in the manner of an American.

”I am,” Holmes confirmed. “May I present Dr. John Watson?”

The man bobbed his chin at me.

“Watson,” Holmes said, “this is Colonel Joe Shelley of Austin, Texas, proprietor of Mexican Joe’s Western Wilds of America review, opening in Sheffield tomorrow. Please sit down, Colonel, and tell me about this missing Sioux Indian of yours. He’s only been with your show five months, so he’s not the man who shot you. Why would a Red Indian who doesn’t speak a word of English go wandering the streets of London?”

Mexican Joe” and his troupe in Liverpool – "Play Up, Liverpool"The colonel stood dumbstruck.

“By God you are Sherlock Holmes! They told me you’d know who I was and what I was after before I sat down.”

“They?” I ventured.

“Mr. Barker and Mr. Levillard,” said the colonel.

“Monsieur le Villard,” Holmes corrected him.

“’At’s ‘im! They told me if’n I ever found myself in a bind you was the one to go to. But now, sir,” he said, dragging the stool from Holmes’ workbench and perching on it, “you must tell me how you came by all that.”

Holmes nodded and settled back in his chair.

——————————

If there were ever doubts about the veracity of my claims as to the historicity of Professor Abraham Van Helsing after the publication of Terovolas (and there were), I cannot help but think that the publication of this new account, which involves such documented historical personages as Colonel Joe Shelley, the poet Francis Thompson, Mrs. Alice Meynell and the famous Lakota prophet Black Elk, will surely vindicate my previous efforts, and perhaps lead to my being able to publish more of The Van Helsing Papers.

As a fun side note, in researching this book, I may have inadvertently identified the full name of a previously unidentified (and exonerated) Ripper suspect, Richard Chester Dere….just a neat tidbit. (a link to the announcement on the Jack The Ripper forums – ( https://www.jtrforums.com/showthread.php?t=29285

Meanwhile, pick up the new collection from Berlanger Books here on Amazon.

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