CommadoreRobespierre would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

The Case of the Camberwell Vampire

By CommadoreRobespierre

Mystery / Adventure

The Vampire of Camberwell

Sherlock Holmes studied the paper intently, his long face buried amongst its pages. He seemed to be concentrating on one particular article, for he had been staring at it for several minutes. I sipped my tea absentmindedly, determining not to disturb one of my friend’s frequent reveries. Eventually, his searching glance swept upwards, the bright dark eyes fixed upon my face.

“What is your opinion of vampires, Watson?” The question startled me, if not for its suddenness, then for its subject.

“I don’t know how to answer, Holmes; I have barely any knowledge in such a field.”

“Do you believe that they exist?”

“The myths are not unfounded, I suppose, but at this point I have no reason to believe that they are factual.” His gaze lingered, probing my features to verify my words. The lips curled slightly into the hint of an amused smile. He folded the paper and tossed it over to me.

“Page seven, the article at the bottom.”

“’The Vampire of Camberwell,’” I read aloud. “’Police are currently investigating the remarkable series of crimes resulting in the hospitalisation of two women in as many months. Both women were found insensible near their homes in Camberwell with two small circular wounds to the neck. Police Inspector Lestrade is competently heading the investigation into these most singular occurrences.’ Most singular indeed, Holmes,” I exclaimed. “I wonder how the police are treating it.”

“As a mystery of unknown proportions,” said Holmes, with a dramatic gesture of his hands, indicating his distaste for the London police force.

I was about to ask him of his own theory when there came the sound of our bell followed by the rapid thudding of feet up the stairs. There was a slight pause, then a young man with wavy brown hair and dressed in a well worn overcoat against the cold opened the door. His cheeks were flushed and his blue eyes intense and imploring with frustration.

“Forgive me for my intrusion,” he cried. “But I am on the verge of losing my beloved, and you are the only hope I can think of.”

“Calm yourself, my dear fellow,” soothed Holmes with an air of anticipation; another puzzle to occupy that great mind. He guided the young man to a chair. “Sit down and tell us what has occurred when you’re ready.” Holmes examined the man as he regained his composure and I too attempted to apply the logical train of reasoning I knew would be swiftly occurring in his head. The young man was undoubtedly middle class, unmarried and a tradesman of some description. He was deeply moved and it took a moment for him to contain his emotions.

“Mr. Holmes, I come to you a desperate man,” he began humbly. “I am deeply in love with the most beautiful woman alive-“

“Ah yes, that would be Jane. Your brooch,” Holmes added in response to the young man’s startled glance. “But you have not told us your own name.”

“Herbert Lancaster.”

“And you are a construction worker.” Herbert Lancaster was a shocked as before. Holmes laughed. “Your boots betray your trade, and if that were not enough you bear traces of your work in the coarseness of your hands and the bearing of your manner. But from your language you are also well educated.” Lancaster nodded.

“My parents believe that education is the key to all doors in life.”

“And quite right too,” agreed my companion. “But, please, continue your narrative. What is Jane’s last name?” Holmes turned his attention back to his notebook which he balanced upon his lap, pencil in hand.

“Kingsley. We are very much in love, Mr. Holmes, and I am in fact in the process of preparing to ask for her hand in marriage. I know that she loves me as much as I do her. I tell you this to add weight to the problem I will now lay before you. Jane suffers from the after-effects of having had polio as a child and as such is compelled to regularly see her Doctor whom she has known for nearly ten years. This Doctor has always treated her with a certain degree of contempt due to her somewhat timid nature in answering questions. He frightens her, you see, and becomes most frustrated when she doesn’t answer his questions. But he is a good Doctor and enables her to cope with her pain most effectively. But recently he has taken a sudden inexplicable interest in her.”

“When exactly was this, do you remember?” interjected Holmes.

“She first spoke of it two weeks ago; it must have been the fifth of May.” Holmes noted this down.

“I know that this is not as exciting a request as you must be accustomed to, but I am willing to pay you,” began Herbert.

“On the contrary, this is most stimulating!” said Holmes with a familiar spark in his eyes. “A fee does not concern me, only your complete cooperation as to my instructions.”

“I’m only too happy to oblige you, Mr. Holmes.”

“Well then, let us examine some facts: you are concerned because this man’s behaviour is highly unusual and perhaps threatening to yourself?”

“Jane’s heart belongs to me, but yes I am very anxious as to Doctor Berger’s intentions. In fact, the reason I arrived here just now in such a state was because I discovered a letter imploring Jane to meet him for dinner!”

“Do you happen to have this letter with you?” Lancaster rummaged in his coat pockets and produced the letter in its opened envelope. Holmes took out a glass and scrutinised it minutely.

“Hum, he wrote it from his surgery in a hurry, possibly to avoid being interrupted. Left-handed from the writing and most methodical in habit.”

“Why, Holmes, how can you tell?” I asked in awe of my friend’s comprehensive deductions. He smiled at my incredulity, despite my intimate knowledge of his techniques.

“Quite simple, Watson, if you employ a logical chain of reasoning from the result to the effect. The writing is tilted to the left and not quite in a straight line, whereas the letter itself is folded with care, indicating a man of precise habit who in this instance wrote in a hurry. Apart from the angle of the writing, the smudges produced are characteristic of a left-handed individual. Apart from these clues I can derive nothing more of interest. Is there any more information you can give me, Mr Lancaster, about this man?” The young man considered, and then shook his head.

“I hardly know him; I’ve never had a need to until now.”

“And you have no suspicions as to his motives?”

“I can’t figure it out! Jane is less well off than he with no rich relations and he has always treated her with the same indifference as any patient to my knowledge.”

“It seems we will need to pay this man a visit, and also Jane.”

“We are having tea together at her house tomorrow and you would be most welcome to join us. Two O’clock, number six on Salisbury Road.”

“We would be delighted, that is if you are available, Watson?”

“I can easily arrange to be available at that time.”

“Excellent.” Holmes stood to escort Lancaster to the door. “Tomorrow, then.”

“Thank you, both of you,” Lancaster smiled, much more at ease with the assurance of our aid, and departed.

...

Continue Reading Next Chapter
Further Recommendations

Rouba Shishakly: The story is very engaging, I wasn't expecting the ending!! What a surprise. Great work overall.

Aishwarya pillai: This is one story I have put my full interest intoBest novel ever!!! Without a doubt 😍😙😍😍❤💋

Deleted User: An unusual story, well worth reading. Good conversations, excellent prose, and keeps my interest, maybe because I was there, back in the day. You won't be able to pt this book down.

Maja1111: I particularly loved the vivid dialogues. Also, the atmosphere throughout the story is so specific, with a touch of a mystery. Really enjoyed reading it.

Jay: Love the book and only read the first chapter. I'm hooked.

James Lawson: I enjoyed this so much I immediately bought (and read) the sequel from Amazon.ca - and am eagerly awaiting the third installment.Since this is a review and not a synopsis, I'll share my impressions rather than write out a condensed version of the plot.There were enough plot twists and turns to ke...

William Elliott Kern: A young boy," later found on the highway by General Jarda", was murdered by Barbarians, came back to life as he was an Anmah, age 6 when the loss of his family had occured.........General Jarda, took the boy, gave him a new name, and introduced him to another Anham and the King, This Story is w...

More Recommendations

Lauren Kabanyana: It's simply amazing, the story is touching and has you captivated while reading! I loved it! Would read it over and over again. I applaud the way this book was able to evoke a mixture of feelings. I felt everything the two main characters felt from the start to end, i would recommend this novel t...

aaron10905: This is undoubtedly one of the best books written on here. I actually unistalled this app until someone told me about this story. I came back not expecting much, just to be drawn into the story and the characters. I would buy this book in real life, as long as another was promised shortly after.

nehmeyasmin: It was the most heart warming but heart breaking story ever and I want the next part right away. It kept me hooked until the end even though there were a couple mistakes it was truly amazing. I think this book could go far if it wanted to

bloodrosemaiden: I love this book!! I have read it several times and though there could be improvements I applaud the author. I know positive feed back is appreciated!! I enjoy reading about the learning the different character's backstories, and the affects in the overall story!

Jim E. Johnson: Rarely do I find a mystery that peeks my interest, but Jack Huber's Pat Ruger reminds me of Parker's Spenser or Spillane's Hammer! Strong character with the right connections and plot drivers to keep anyone engaged and never putting it down.The encounters of the characters Ruger engages, continue...

{{ contest.story_page_sticky_bar_text }} Be the first to recommend this story.

About Us:

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.