Interviewing The Dead by David Field (Carlyle & West Victorian Mysteries Book 1)
English | 2020 | Mystery & Thriller | ePUB | 2.7 MB
Should you be afraid of the dead – or the living?
Over two hundred years ago, in 1665, a mass grave was dug to house the hundreds of corpses who fell victim to the Black Death. When Aldgate Underground station was extended, the workmen discovered the grave and unceremoniously dumped the bones, to make way for the new track.
Now, a renowned spiritualist is claiming the dead are rising to punish Londoners.
Strange encounters start to be reported in London’s East End with some people dying from unexplained causes.
People start to panic, and distressed parishioners consult local preacher, Matthew West, looking for reassurance.
Matthew is at a loss and turns to local doctor, James Carlyle, for answers.
Carlyle and West have very different views on science and religion, but they decide to work together to get the bottom of the mysterious deaths.
Has a curse really been put on London? Have the dead risen from their graves?
Or could a serial killer be loose in the city…?
Right at the back was a man sitting alone, who looked decidedly overdressed for the occasion. Matthew’s first thought was that he was either the new superintendent of the Mission, who Matthew had yet to meet and who had probably been sent in to monitor the quality of his ministry, or perhaps some ‘toff’ from the West End who had come down here slumming the night before and was waiting for his hired coach to arrive. He was dressed like a city banker, in a formal three piece suit and his shortly trimmed grey hair set him apart from the rest, suggesting that he could afford regular personal grooming.
Matthew began with the passage in the Gospel of St John in which Jesus passed the hand of blessing over several water storage jars and converted their contents into wine. Having completed his tale, he sought, as usual, to make it meaningful for the group in front of him.
‘So what does this miracle have to tell us about our Lord’s work among his people?’ he asked optimistically.
There was a short silence before Jamie Froggatt said, ‘That ’e were a magician?’
‘A magician of sorts, certainly,’ Matthew replied encouragingly. ‘But where did his magic come from? Is this deed not worthy of being described as a “miracle”? Like when he brought Lazarus back from the dead?’
‘Not ter mention them demons down in Aldgate,’ one of the labourers chimed in.
Matthew responded with, ‘I beg your pardon?’
‘Them dead folks what was chucked inter the ground durin’ the plague,’ the man persisted. ‘We come ’ere this mornin’ ter see if yer can assure us that they won’t be comin’ back up ter get us, ’cos if they will we’re clearin’ off.’
Matthew thought quickly. ‘The Lord would not allow His children to be overcome by evil such as was suggested in today’s papers, if that’s what you’re referring to.’
‘An’ yer knows that fer sure, does yer?’ the man challenged him. ‘That medium woman were pretty convinced about it. “Coming up from the Gates of ’Ell” was ’ow she described it, accordin’ ter the papers. Can yer talk ter them what’s dead, like she done, an’ assure us that it won’t be ’appenin’?’
‘I certainly don’t talk to the dead,’ Matthew told him, ‘because “necromancy”, as it’s called, is an abomination and a sin in God’s eyes.’
‘But if you can’t and she can,’ the man persisted, ‘then why should we believe you, when yer sez it won’t be ’appenin’?’
Matthew was disconcerted to notice that the smartly dressed gentleman was quietly smiling, as if the questioner had a valid argument. ‘I can assure you that the evil deeds such as you’re describing are the work of the Devil,’ Matthew responded weakly, ‘and that if the souls of the long dead do indeed emerge from Aldgate Underground, then it won’t be as the result of God’s bidding.’