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Dracula and the Virgins of the Undead

Novel by Etienne Aubin (Canada) 1974.

The return of 'Etienne Aubin'! James Moffatt's alter-ego with a taste for tacky titles serves up a second helping of latter-day pulp excess. In the absence of Count Dracula, who admittedly does appear but only in a very minor role, we concentrate on Adam Cochran, investigator into the occult. Cochran's family were major landowners around Avebury for centuries; in the 1970s the lands are long gone but the locals still treat Adam as their lord of the manor. This gives him the right, if not the duty, to be present at the staking of local girl turned vampire, Maud Henderson. He calls in fellow dabblers Douglas Dearlove, drinker and womaniser, and Stafford Hayne, 'bastard son of a bastard earl'. Together, they attempt to locate and destroy the source of the vampirism in the area, the infamous Count Dracula.

Wisely avoiding most of the pitfalls encounted by other dime a dozen Dracula novels, Moffatt instead works on his characters, fleshing out the main trio and the strange and sexy medium Madame Rimeno with surprising skill. The main joy here is the dialogue, the three investigators bouncing off each other as realistically as in any acclaimed 'literature'. But there's no real story to fit behind the characters; they experience Dracula but only briefly and he just flits back off into the mist. There's a good beginning, but little middle and no end to speak of at all. If Moffatt could craft characters like this into a plot there would be a novel worth reading, but this is merely a timewaster.


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