I’ve never been a regular reader of vampire books or watcher of vampire films, but when I read Dracula for the first time about twelve years ago, I enjoyed it much more than I expected. The first half of the book in particular is very gripping. And, of course, it appealed to my sense of humour that the Count had a copy of The Law List in his library, and that the hero, Jonathan Harker, is a lawyer himself.
When I came to write the seventh Harry Devlin novel, First Cut is the Deepest, which involves the apparent serial killing of Liverpool lawyers, and the stalking of Harry himself, I used various quotes from Dracula and references to the story to give my tale further texture. It was a book I enjoyed writing, and it was well received at the time, so I am very sorry that it is currently not in print.
When I was in Oxford for the St Hilda’s week-end, I was sorry to see that Waterfield’s, a nice second hand bookshop on the High, is closing down. They were holding a book sale and I picked up several titles, including a shortish book about Stoker by Andrew Maunder.
I found it enjoyable and interesting. Stoker worked from time to time on the fringes of our genre, and he claimed a strong friendship with Arthur Conan Doyle. The Mystery of the Sea involves cryptography, and it’s a tad surprising that it’s so little known. And Stoker is one of those writers who has produced at least one completely unexpected title – Duties of the Clerks of Petty Sessions in Ireland. Bet that one never troubled the best-seller lists.