The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Published 1924 Short Story (taken from The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes)
Sherlock Holmes, possibly the most logical and analytical fictional detective ever created, and his ever faithful companion and chronicler Dr Watson, undertake to resolve the mystery surrounding a case of vampirism in the sleepy Sussex village of Lamberley.
The Peruvian wife of an English gentleman had lately taken to flying into a rage with her stepson and had physically attacked him on more than one occasion. More damningly, she was also witnessed by her husband sucking the blood of her own baby.
Whilst dismissing the notion of vampires out of hand, “This agency stands flat-footed upon the ground, and there it must remain. The world is big enough for us. No ghosts need apply.” Holmes doesn’t hesitate to investigate the strange case of the Sussex Vampire.
Sherlock Holmes lives in a world ruled by science, logic and fact. Even the most bizarre occurrences can be logically explained if the detective has enough information to analyse for the answers. When applied to the criminal underworld of London this makes Holmes a brilliant detective, but his logical fact driven brain is never going to except the mystery of the supernatural. (The point being that the supernatural can never explained by science; otherwise it wouldn’t be ‘super’ natural!)
There is obviously a logical explanation for the Peruvian lady appearing to be turning onto a vampire - it wouldn’t be a Sherlock Holmes story if there wasn’t. Still, “The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire” makes an entertaining read and is recommended reading for lovers of detective stories. Certainly the story has sparked my own imagination and I can’t help but wonder what would happen if Holmes met a real vampire, the existence of which didn’t have a logical explanation.
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