Who would suspect that the same mind that created the most famous literary detective of all time also took on the eternally popular genre of vampires? Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a contemporary of Bram Stoker, gave us some fascinating works of vampire fiction. From the bloodsucking plant in “The American’s Tale” to the bloodsucking wife in “The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire,” he reveled in the horror created by creatures who survived on the blood of men and women.
Editor Robert Eighteen-Bisang compiles a slim collection of Conan Doyle's supernatural tales, but fails to make the case that they are all really vampire stories. "The Ring of Thoth," which features a mummy, is a particularly poor fit. While the Sherlock Holmes classic "The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire" is an obvious candidate for inclusion, the two other Holmes stories, "The Adventure of the Illustrious Client" and "The Adventure of the Three Gables," are a stretch. Suspicions that the editor's reach exceeded his grasp are bolstered by the inclusion of an original pastiche by Bill Crider, introducing both Bram Stoker and Abraham Van Helsing to Baker Street, in a volume ostensibly featuring only Doyle's own, superior short fiction. Only completists are likely to add this to their collections.