“I, a strange American in London, advancing a theory so bizarre as to astound even the heads of Scotland Yard!”
A classic of werewolf fiction, this was crime writer Gerald Biss’s only supernatural novel. Having greatly admired Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897), Biss uses a similar technique of presenting a casebook of ‘evidence’ to place an ancient evil convincingly within a thoroughly modern England. In doing so, Biss turns the werewolf into a threatening symbol of a regressive past, returning to invade a progressive, modern civilization in which urban expansion is on the increase and whose symbol is the ubiquitous motor car. As with Stoker’s vampire Biss’s werewolf is also a figure of the invading foreigner. The theme is especially resonant in Biss’s novel which, in the immediate aftermath of the First World War, presents its readers with a band of British and American allies who come together to fend off a German invasion of a different sort!
Biss’s major source was the dubious (but entertaining) account of werewolf lore compiled by the paranormal investigator, author and perennial teller of tall tales, Elliott O’Donnell. This can be downloaded from Project Gutenberg.
More information about Gerald Biss is available on the Bear Alley blog
The text is taken from Daniel Correll’s website – a splendid collection of horror fiction formatted in HTML. My grateful thanks for his permission to use his work as the basis for the edition provided here.