Saturday, August 30, 2014


From The Blackstone Vampires Series:

Rose and her children find themselves held captive on a ship staffed by vampires, overseen by the mad and evil demon Eco. The last time Rose saw Eco he tried to destroy the children, and now he tells her he loves her.

“I saw you leave the house that day, Rose. That terrible day you discovered your family butchered. I saw you…” 
Eco, believing he has fallen in love with her, pens a confession documenting all sins he has committed during his immortal existence. 

From Ancient Egyptian vampire cults, Roman vampire brothels, The Dark Ages, The Crusades, The Black Death of 1348, on to his meeting with the child murderer and Satanist Gilles de Rais, and concluding with his wicked, blood-soaked affair with the Blood Countess herself, Erzebat Bathory. The pages are filled with debauchery, vice and murder – how can one stained with so much blood and evil possibly be trusted?


'92 Horror authors you need to read right now'
Carole Gill -- the Blackstone Vampires series
~Charlotte Books EXAMINER
"In the attempt to find the just measure of horror and terror, I came upon the writing of Carole Gill whose work revealed a whole new dimension to me. The figure of the gothic child was there. Stoker's horror was there. Along with the romance! At the heart of her writing one stumbles upon a genuine search for that darkness we lost with the loss of Stoker."
Dr. Margarita Georgieva ~ Gothic Readings in The Dark

Sold separately or you can buy all four novels for $3.99!

The Blackstone Vampire Omnibus
The entire series for $3.99 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Efestival of Words 2014: Eco Won Best Villain And...!

The House on Blackstone Moor, the novel in which he made his debut, won Best Horror in Efestival of Words 2014. And as I said, he was voted Best Villain. 

Now, I am pretty happy about that, but I want to do Eco justice. I want everyone to know that he doesn't just appear as the villainous monster in Book 1 of The Blackstone Vampires Series, he is featured in Unholy Testament - The Beginnings, Book 2 wherein he tells his story. He claims he must confess his sins. But there are so many sins to confess that he must continue his story in Unholy Testament - Full Circle, Book 3. In the The Fourth Bride, Book 4, he appears once again in a most surprising way I have to say. His appearance in this novel will leave you stunned.

Still, Eco is a villain's villain. He is a monster, the son of a fallen angel and human woman. He is demonic and the very epitome of evil but--!! He is a highly intelligent demon. He is so discerning, he cannot ignore truth when he sees it, whatever that truth may be. This, as he says in his own words, is what drove him mad. And mad he is.

He is complex--the most complex of any of the characters in my Series. He is also my favorite character. Whatever I write in the future, I will never have a character I am more obsessed with. I suppose it is because of the complexity of his being. He is monstrous yet he can be sympathetic. I have had reviewers say they found themselves feeling sorry for him as he recounts the most horrendous sins--! Now that's a complicated being! That is what I find so intriguing about him. I created him yet, he exists on his own, he always has!

I hope you will wish to find out more about this unique villain; this self-hating, sin-loving, vicious demon who will will share his secrets with you. Be prepared though for they are dark!

He says he has loved--in fact, he claims that is the reason he penned his confessions to the woman he professes to love. That's in Books 2 and 3. 

You can meet him any time you choose. He is waiting for you. Find him in all four novels that make up The Blackstone Vampires Omnibus. These are four full-length novels. The entire series is $3.99 which I think is pretty fair for four books.

I thank you and Eco does too--but I'd be wary of him. He's just not the sort of being you want to trust completely. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014


That's four complete novels for $3.99!


After discovering her savagely murdered family, Rose Baines is plunged into a nightmare of hell. She is incarcerated in two madhouses, after which she is helped to obtain a position as governess at Blackstone House. Located on haunted moorland, nothing is as it seems for the House and its inhabitants have hideous secrets. There is unimaginable horror there, and love too--love that comes at a terrible price. 


Eco, first seen in the previous book, has documented all of the sins he has committed during the course of his immortal life. Trying to get Rose to forgive him, he forces Rose to read his journal by holding her children hostage. 

From Ancient Egyptian vampire cults, Roman vampire brothels, The Dark Ages, The Crusades, The Black Death of 1348, on to his meeting with the child murderer and Satanist Gilles de Rais, and concluding with his wicked, blood-soaked affair with the Blood Countess herself, Erzebat Bathory. The pages are filled with debauchery, vice and murder – how can one stained with so much blood and evil possibly be trusted?


Vampiric orgies and satanic rites fill the pages of this book. All of the hideous secrets of Blackstone House are revealed. Every evil that Rose Baines was subjected to is closely examined, as are those who committed the worst sins against her. 

There are more blood-drenched confessions to read. Rose has no choice but to finish the journal. Eco, mad and as unpredictable as ever, can snap at any time. But will he? 

The rest of the journal tells of the sick and twisted obsession Eco has had for Blackstone House's former mistress, evil and debauched Eve Darton. There are aristocratic devil rites, both in England and France, including satanic sacrifices. There is the Great Fire of London 1666, plagues, vampire destroyers, witch hunts and resurrection men who supply a necrophile doctor. 


After the tragic and sudden death of her groom, Dia, cursed by Dracula as a babe, is taken to his castle.

Once there, she is seduced and turned by the count to become his fourth bride. The other brides are to be her sisters, but there is great rivalry as the brides compete for their master’s affection. Dracula takes Dia away, but to whose castle has he taken her and are they being watched?

Dracula’s gypsies are loyal to their master and will try to save him, but the destroyers led by Van Helsing come and there is great carnage. Still, for one, there is salvation from the unlikeliest of saviors. There is betrayal and a freak show run by evil men, as well as the greatest passion Dia will ever know, but can she trust it?

And what of Dracula’s greatest vampire enemy, the one who has fallen in love with Dia; the nobleman Dracula turned. Can he be trusted?


"92 Horror authors you need to read right now"
Carole Gill -- the Blackstone Vampires series
~Charlotte Books - EXAMINER
"In the attempt to find the just measure of horror and terror, I came upon the writing of Carole Gill whose work revealed a whole new dimension to me. The figure of the gothic child was there. Stoker's horror was there. Along with the romance! At the heart of her writing one stumbles upon a genuine search for that darkness we lost with the loss of Stoker." 
DR. MARGARITA GEORGIEVA ~ Gothic Readings in The Dark

The House on Blackstone Moor:
"I for one found this gloriously gothic, refreshingly brutal, honestly horrific and a great read."
~Taliesin Meets the Vampires

Unholy Testament - The Beginnings
"Carole Gill has managed to weave a haunting tale with aspects of Horror/Romance but also quite a bit of history as well. This series is full of suspense and I can't wait for the next one!"
Texas Book Nook

Unholy Testament - Full Circle 
"Is full of dark, gory, evil and heinous twist and turns which keeps your adrenaline going. Unholy Testament - Full Circle with all of the horrific things that goes on in it is just right up my alley. And believe me you definitely get plenty of evil in Unholy Testament - Full Circle. The ending left me with my mouth hanging open it was so surprising. I never expected it but I loved it."
NANCY ALLAN - Avid Reader
The Fourth Bride
Creepy and full of evil! Carole is by far the master story teller of vampire gothic horror. Once you pick this novel up there will be nothing more important than getting to the last page! There are more dark twists and turns than a roller coaster!
WENDE SHEETS ~ Julie's Book Review

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

An Interview With Charles E. Butler Author, Illustrator And Vampire Expert!

Hello Carole and thank you for inviting me onto you blog. First a little about myself. My name is Charles E Butler and I am a sometime writer/illustrator and actor. I was born in Leeds, west Yorkshire UK and have probably worked everywhere in that city over the last thirty years.

Having no formal qualifications, I have tried my hand at wine waiting; Telephone operative. Wholesale Administrator, sweet manufacturer, fixer of electrical goods, warehouse wholesale and retail, printing and print finishing and a whole range of layman jobs, warehouse skivvy and removal man…to name but a few.

Growing up, I was an ailing child who flung himself into fantasy when I lost my father. I started collecting comic books and watching all night horror movies on BBC2. I became lost in fantasy. I also had an uncanny ability to be able to draw my favourite characters from the comic books. I would write and draw my own stories. I had found my calling; I wanted to be a comic book artist!

As the rejections poured in and the years went by, I found myself drifting from one job to another thanks to the celebrated YTS government program scheme. I left school with no qualifications and no hope! I laughed at a Romany Gypsy who told me – on my 25th birthday – that I was going to be internationally successful and the linking factor would be the letter ‘D’.

I joined local acting groups and fended off my depression in a variety of plays and short films. Sometimes I would be paid, which is always welcome. Twenty years on, I have finally secured an agent!! Jobwise, however, I was still drifting.
Technology grew and the 1990s – thanks to regular acting gigs – went by in a blur. The millennium came and went, but I was still exactly where I began! I had still to invest in a pc. A friend sold me a Windows 97 pc in 2007 after I had just walked out of another job – telephone salesman – and I paid 50GBP for it. I began playing with the paint program and scanner.

I had no internet, so had a lot of time to acquaint myself with the keyboard. I wrote some short stories on the word program – now lost unfortunately – and then I read a really dumb review book that talked about the celebrated Horror film Studio, Hammer films. The character who wrote – if that is the word? – the book, clearly had no interest in the project save for the cheque that he had already put into the bank. Unemployed and feeling dejected, I threw the book down in disgust promising myself that I could have done a better job.

I looked at my creaking video shelves filled with vampire horrors! The seed had been planted and in three months the first draft of The Romance of Dracula; a personal Journey of the Count on celluloid was completed, with a specially prepared cover  and scanned photographs. But there were copyright restrictions on using photographs. I balked at my brother’s suggestion that I draw the illustrations.

When I finished the drawing of Max Schreck lying in his coffin,  then I decided to publish!

The Romance of Dracula was rejected world-wide 48 (forty eight) times. The work was excellent, but they couldn’t sell the author and many were filled with, ‘there is always room at the top’ type suggestions and ‘don’t give up!’ I had no intentions of ever giving up. I posted the full manuscript complete with drawings and a new cover to an established publishing house printers on Route 66. Two months later they returned the drawings, but no text!

Warning bells sounded and I invented a publishers logo and self-published to kindle pad that very next hour! Since publication of the kindle pad in 2010 and the hardcover emerging in 2011.

I have followed through with Vampires Everywhere; the Rise of the Movie UnDead and Vampires Under the Hammer in 2012 and 2013 respectively. I have also written articles for esteemed publications, The Eerie Digest, Diabolique and We Belong Dead and I have drawings published in other people’s works. I have been extensively interviewed online and had my books accepted in libraries locally.

I am informed that Iowa State University holds a copy of The Romance of Dracula and all three books are in the State Library of Southern Australia!

Currently, I am writing three follow on books; Werewolves; the Children of the full Moon , The Monsters of Frankenstein.

and my first novel, Demosthenes and the vampire of Rome,

but beating them to the printer will be Vampires; the Final Hunt which closes the coffin lid on the movie vampire once and for all.

In the near future, I am looking forward to giving my first lecture at Bradford University around September and in October, I am a guest at the Dark Arts section of the Bram Stoker International Festival in Whitby! Plus of course, my narrated short story on the televised ‘Fragments of Fear!’




The Romance of Dracula

Vampires Everywhere

Vampires Under the Hammer

Fragments of Fear

Bram Stoker International Film Festival -

Saturday, August 9, 2014

99 cents!!! THE FOURTH BRIDE (of Dracula!)!

Complete chapter from the novel:

"I found myself standing inside a great hall, which smelled of dust and decay. A tall stained glass window drew my eye. It would have looked beautiful had it not been shattered in places. That mar was characteristic of the all-pervading gloom.

Suddenly, my host moved to stand in front of me. If I had thought him distinguished looking before, I now found he looked so horrible, I nearly cried out. I am certain I backed away. How had I not seen that his ears were pointed?

He raised one hand as if to comfort me. That was when I noticed his fingernails looked like talons.

He spoke I think to distract me for I am certain my face gave me away. “Miss Dia, permit me to show you to your room for you must be weary.”

I was not clear in my thinking. If I had been confused for most of my journey, I was still feeling dazed because I followed obediently behind him.

As we climbed the staircase, I watched the light from his lamp flicker along the wall as his tall slender shadow moved along with it.

“It is this way,” he said as he motioned me onward. The corridor was long and there were many doors. On we went until he at last opened one. The room was well lit and a welcome change from the cold, fireless hall below. “I have had a supper laid out for you. I hope it is to your liking. Come,” he motioned. “You will sleep through here...”

We passed through a small room and emerged into the bedchamber. It was handsomely furnished and I was relieved to see a fire burned within the great stone hearth.

“Please, refresh yourself and then dine...” I hesitated and he smiled. “Perhaps you are too tired to eat?”

Before I could answer, he turned quickly and said he would be back. He wasn’t gone long. When he returned I nearly gasped for he looked so different. His lips were red and his eyes shone.

“I have taken some tonic. I did not wish to look tired for you.”
I was amazed at the difference in him, for now his ears no longer looked pointed. Nor did his fingernails seem long!

He was staring so intently at me. “My looks please you now,” he said.
That quite embarrassed me. “No, you looked fine before...!”

He smiled. “I will always endeavor to look my very best for you, young lady.”
I didn’t reply, for I had other, more pressing things on my mind. I was confused. “Count...please. I am at a loss to understand what I am doing here as I recall so little. Everything seems muddled. I cannot remember much of anything. I know my name but little else.”

He nodded sympathetically. “Perhaps we can discover what is wrong. Tell me, my child, what can you remember?”

I thought a moment but it was difficult. I found there was little I could make sense of.

“A young aide of mine brought you here, do you remember?”

Yes, the coach and the trip...but from where?!

I nodded. “The man; yes, I remember him...and some of the journey, but that is all I can recall.”

“You are tired. Do not be hard on yourself. I think it is food you require.” He uncovered a great silver tray. “It is aromatic, is it not?”

It was and I nodded.
“It is freshly prepared chicken made with paprika in the way the people of this region enjoy their food. Pali’s mother prepared it.”

“The young man who escorted you here.”
I smiled as I began to remember. “Yes! Pali.”
“He is a Gypsy, you know.”

Something clicked in my head. Gypsies were strange beings, clannish and not to be trusted, or so they said. Dracula looked to be measuring my response. “I have never known Gypsies ... but then again...”

“Many people hate and fear them. I do not, however; I have found them to be good and loyal servants and friends of mine. In fact, I entrust them with my very existence.” He gestured toward the food. “Please…”

I did not wish to appear rude so I took a bite of the chicken. “It is good. Very good.”

Dracula looked pleased. “I knew you would like it. And now...what is food without wine?” He reached over and picked up a beautiful cask from which he poured some wine. He handed me the goblet. “Please.”

I hesitated, expecting him to pour some for himself. Dracula smiled. “No, I do not Do not mind about me, please.”

He was waiting for me to drink it, so I did. The taste was rich and heavy, and spiced too. I did know eastern tastes differed from western. Spiced wines were popular throughout Hungry and Romania.

“It is good, different.”

He looked very pleased. I hadn’t taken that much but I started to feel funny and by the time my meal was finished, my eyelids felt heavy. Sleep beckoned.

Dracula rose. “You are to retire now. That is good. I will leave you in peace.” He smiled and I smiled too because now he looked almost handsome to me. So handsome, in fact, it quite touched my heart.

I stared at the closed door for the longest time, wishing him to return. That is the last thing I recall for in the next moment I heard a wolf. What a haunting sound it made.

I hurried to the window to see if I could see it, but could not. But then, suddenly, I saw a flash of something white dart across the grounds. Then, it turned and sat on its haunches to look at me! I called to it, but it made no sound; instead, it disappeared as quickly as it had come.

A slant of sunlight woke me, just a slant reaching out from the heavy drapes. If I felt less tired, I did not yet feel fully awake either—I felt as though I was dreaming and could not stir myself from the dream.

It wasn’t until I rose that I saw a dress laid out upon a chair. It was burgundy in color and quite pretty, if a little old fashioned.

It wasn’t one of mine I knew for I had no luggage with me. Had my host brought it for me to wear? Perhaps a servant had; after all, I didn’t think the count would have entered the chamber while I slept, though I did suspect he had brought it himself and watched me sleep. I think it thrilled me to believe he had done this. I know now I was already falling in love with him.

I dressed quickly because I was hungry. I hoped there might be a tray outside my door but as it turned out, I did not have to open my door at all because a lovely breakfast had been laid out in the next room. There were rolls and coarse grain breads I had never seen before. And pots of jam, as well as coffee in a great silver carafe.

The china was exquisite, the tray arranged artfully. When I was finished, I washed my face and left my room, intent on thanking my host. He was however nowhere to be seen. In fact, the castle seemed eerily silent.

I walked along the great stone floored passageway, heading toward the stairs. The doors along the corridor were still closed and though I did gently knock on a few of them, I soon stopped for I didn’t wish to disturb anyone.

Down the stairs I went, certain I would see someone: my host or possibly a servant. “Is anyone there?” I called. But there was no answer.

I searched in barren cupboards full of cobwebs and dust, as well as ancient looking disused kitchens, but found nothing.

At last I came upon a stairway leading down to what I assumed was the cellar. Rather than go there, I went back up to my room. For some reason, the downstairs had quite unsettled me and I wished to go no further. I would simply stay and wait for my host.

The dishes were still on the table, as no servant had cleared them. What a strange place, I thought, little realizing the oddity of my own actions, stumbling around in a strange castle.

I retreated finally to the bed. I think I fell asleep, unsure for how long. All I recall was waking to the sound of knocking.

Before I could answer the summons the door swung open and Dracula stepped inside. “I trust you have slept well and eaten? I took the liberty...”

He explained how he had provided my breakfast for me. “As for your evening meal, I was hoping to join you while you dined.”

I assumed he would be dining with me, but when I saw there was only one dish I asked: “Have you dined already, Count?”

He smiled. “Yes, I have consumed my sustenance, dear young lady.”
Although I’d have preferred it if he joined me, I began. I asked him about the wolf.
“Yes, there are wolves. They are such beautiful creatures… Were you troubled by their presence?”

“Not at all, I was rather delighted by it.”

I explained then that I had never heard or seen a wolf. Dracula nodded. “You saw only one?”

“Yes, a beautiful white one. I hope I see it again.”
He smiled and sighed. “I am certain if you wish it, you will.”

Not long after this little interchange, I suddenly begun to remember things, bits and pieces of things, many of them indecipherable but then Edward’s face flashed before me. I trembled so that I dropped my fork.
Dracula looked concerned. “Are you not well?” he asked.


I saw his eyes widen with alarm. “Who did you say?”

I began to cry. “I don’t know. I am beginning to remember things now.”
Dracula encouraged me to tell him what I could.

“I was just married... We eloped and he sickened and died!”
I rushed from the table. Dracula came after me. “Perhaps if you lie down you will feel better. You have had a fright.”

“Fright nothing! I am at last remembering.”

He suggested I lie down, which I did. He left me then but returned quickly. “I have brought you something…” He held an ornate goblet. “Have this; it is a tonic of sorts, just herbs and tea. It is good for most things that ail a person.”

He was staring at me and though I didn’t wish it, I took the goblet from him. It was as though I had no will of my own!

“That is right. Drink it, my dear. It will soothe you.”

I found myself bringing it closer to my lips, all the while thinking, No! I will not! The inability to control my own movements was terrifying. The more I tried to gain control, the more powerless I felt. When I tried to walk it was worse. The room began to spin and I fell down. “Help me,” I cried, for no matter what I did I could not raise myself up.

Dracula smiled down at me. “There, child. You will be alright.”

Why did his voice sound so far away?


He didn’t answer at first. When he did, his voice was but a whisper. “Accept thy gifts for you will be loved forever and ever…!”

(End of chapter 3)

99 cents Promo!

This is book 4 of The Blackstone Vampires Series but may be read as a stand alone.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Behind Closed Doors' Inspector Albert Norris! Book Promo 99 cents!

While Behind Closed Doors by Brian L. Porter is being offered for 99 cents, I managed to get an interview with its main character! 

It is my pleasure to interview Inspector Albert Norris today!

About the Inspector:

Aged in his late thirties, Albert Norris has been an inspector with the Metropolitan Police for over fifteen years, having worked his way up to his current rank from humble beginnings as a constable. Formerly assigned to Scotland Yard he now works from the New Street police station, featured in the book, Behind Closed Doors.

He has been married to his childhood sweetheart, Betty for many years and they live with their two terriers in a small house in a quiet street not far from the Whitechapel area of London. He is ably assisted in his cases by his sergeant and friend, Dylan Hillman who has worked with Norris for a number of years, the two of them forming a formidable investigative team.

The photos included with this article come courtesy of Inspector Norris and show the inspector himself, his wife Betty as a teenage girl on holiday in a small Cotswold village and finally, the Norris family showing his parents together with Norris and his sister Beatrice.

Inspector Albert Norris is the leading character in the novel Behind Closed Doors by Brian L Porter. Thanks to the amazing miracle of time travel, the following interview was conducted by author Carole Gill, with the man himself.

Tell me Inspector, do you have a middle name?

Yes, I do. Not that it’s used often and very few of my friends or colleagues are aware of it, but my parents were extremely patriotic, you see and my father, having served in the Royal Navy for some years, decided, against my mother’s best advice, I’ve since been told, to give me the middle name of Horatio, the great Admiral having been one of his own personal heroes. So my full name is in fact Albert Horatio Norris. I think the last time my middle name was spoken aloud was by the minister who conducted my marriage to Betty.
I know your wife is called Betty, tell me a bit about her. I’d like to know where you met!

Ah, my dear Betty. Well, her full name, before we were wed, was Elizabeth Doris Rollins. Her father, Giles Rollins was, well, still is, a proponent of the modern art of taking photographic images. Rather good at it he is, too. Her mother is Daisy, and her parents have been wed for more years than I can tell, and happily too for all I can see.

These photographic images have become something of a boon to us in the police force, I’ll add, as they have enabled us to record many details of the scenes of crimes and indeed, of the victims too, something we could not have done some years ago. As you can imagine, this has helped us in many aspects of investigations into murders, robberies and so on. We are also able to record the faces of those who are arrested and charged for such crimes, providing us with a permanent record of such villains and enabling us to aid in witness identification, especially where criminals commit repeat offences.

But, I’m sorry; you were asking me of Betty. We first met some years ago, when we were no more than in our teen years. My father having been invalided out of the navy at quite a young age, would take the whole family, once a year, to a small village in the Cotswolds where for a whole week he would take the waters at a nearby spa, and my sister Beatrice and I, together with our mother, would enjoy walks in the countryside and exploring the peaceful little village, with its quaint and unusual array of shops and tea rooms, which were something of a magnet for others who would stay in the area, mostly, I presumed to make use of the spa, like my father.

One day, while Beatrice, (known to us as Bea), and my mother were visiting the small museum in the middle of the village, I took a walk to the banks of the small river that runs through the village, bisecting it so that the northern side is kept separate from the southern with a series of small bridges in place to facilitate passage from one side to another, with two larger ones at either end of the village suitable for vehicular traffic.

As I sat upon the riverbank, trying to see if any fish were swimming by, a young woman, no more than my own age, walked boldly up to my side and asked what I might be doing. She was, simply, the most beautiful creature I had set eyes on up to that stage in my life. We talked and talked until Mother and Bea eventually came seeking me out, and I introduced them to my new friend, Elizabeth. Chance would have it that Elizabeth and her family lived quite close to my own family in London, and in due course, following a week of idyllic walks and talks together, Elizabeth and I developed a lasting friendship which slowly turned to love and two years later, though I was only a lowly uniformed police constable, we were married one sunny afternoon in July and to this day, my Betty remains my staunchest friend and support, and I am not ashamed to say, the one and only love of my life.

You took in a stray dog which I think is marvelous. You already had Billy and now you have Lillie. Do they get along?

Like Betty and I, the two dogs are the best of friends and quite inseparable, running and playing together and curling up together at night, at the bottom of the stairs, always alert and on guard. Billy has been with us for about seven years now and Lillie, (who we named after the wonderful Lillie Langtry), for a somewhat shorter time, but they are both fiercely loyal to me and to Betty and would not hesitate to leap to the defence of either of us if they felt we were at any time under threat from some malcontent or thief or whatever.
What is your superior, Chief Inspector Joshua Madden like to work for?

Haha, Carole, this is where, needs must, a little diplomacy is perhaps called for. Chief Inspector Madden is for the most part, a very good man to work for. He is a highly competent police officer who worked his way up to his current rank from the lowly rank of constable, so he is well aware of the life of those who serve beneath him.

Having said that, like all senior officers he can often come across as a little overbearing at times and does not take kindly to being contradicted, even though at times, as he will eventually admit, he is not infallible and can, like the best of us, make mistakes from time to time, (sorry boss!). Having said that he is fiercely loyal to those who work for him and when I first came under his leadership after leaving Scotland Yard, I soon found him to be a fair minded and solid superior officer. He values my experience, and my investigative qualities, as he has told me on various occasions, (usually after a dressing-down for some slight insubordination or obstinacy on my part), and though I was perhaps not easy to work with when I first left the Yard, he slowly gained my respect and confidence and stood by me on many occasions where other bosses might have lost patience with me. So, all in all, I have to say that my boss is a good one and certainly better than most within the force.

Your sergeant and assistant, Dylan Hillman is also your friend. That must be so helpful in your working environment. Have you been friends for long?

Ah, good old Dylan, my old chum, as I constantly refer to him. When I was first assigned to New Street Police Station after leaving Scotland Yard, Dylan was a young constable, and I knew little of him. Two years later, on his promotion to sergeant he was assigned to work with me when my previous sergeant, Willis Hall, retired. Hillman was young, fresh and idealistic and had an outlook on the world that looked for the good in everyone, not a bad philosophy, but somewhat unhelpful for a police officer when dealing with some of the scum of the earth (sorry about the language), that inhabit London’s underworld. Together, we slowly gained confidence in each other, and Dylan soon learned to see the darker side of life through some of the cases we were assigned to, in particular some of the vicious murders we were called upon to investigate. Over time, he came to temper his optimism, not with quite the degree of pessimism that I might apply to the job, but he began to mix his faith in people with a degree of realism that in fact allowed him to become a better investigator than he ever imagined he could be, because Dylan Hillman has that special ‘human’ touch that encourages people to be frank and open with him, and has led to the downfall of many a criminal who has been caught out by Dylan’s persuasive interrogation techniques.

As our working relationship brought us closer together, Betty insisted on my young sergeant joining us to share our evening meal from time to time, and our ability to often second-guess each other helped cement a friendship that transcends our differing ranks, although he never loses sight of the fact that I’m his superior officer and always remains at arm’s length from our friendship while we’re working together.

Dylan, my old chum is a pearl among men, Carole and no inspector could ask for a more loyal and true sergeant by his side when the going gets tough.

I hope you don’t mind me asking such a personal question, Inspector Norris, but do you have any children? Any plans to have any?

Though it was our dearest wish, in those early days of our marriage to have a child of our own, it transpired that Betty was medically unable to bear children so we have instead concentrated our love on one another, and of course, on the four legged friends who have become an important part of our lives.

You left Scotland Yard ten years ago—may I ask you to please explain the circumstances? Also, I know your dog, Lillie remarkably helped lead you to arresting a murderer. The young officer mentioned in the Behind Closed Doors case—also referred to as the railway murders. Can you tell me about that?

Well, not a lot of people are aware of the reasons for my leaving the Yard. You see, for many years, I carried around a sense of guilt that I’d been responsible for the death of a young constable under my command, when we had cornered a suspect in the theft of a wallet from a prominent member of parliament. I’d instructed Constable Vane to handcuff the man who had intimated that he’d surrendered, and as Vane approached him, the man pulled a gun from under his coat and shot the constable. Another shot followed, hitting me in the shoulder and the man escaped, and was never caught. Poor Vane bled to death where he lay and I knew I should have made the man lie down, hands behind his back, before telling Vane to cuff him. Although I was cleared of any blame in the subsequent inquiry into Vane’s death, I personally felt a weight on my mind that stayed with me for years.

My work suffered to such an extent that I was transferred from the Yard to New Street, where I’ve stayed since that day. At first I must have been hard to deal with, perhaps with a chip on my shoulder, but Chief Inspector Madden accepted me as a member of his team and showed great patience in dealing with my moods and at times truculent behaviour. Things only began to improve for me, in my mind, when Sergeant Hillman joined the team, though even then, I told him nothing of the past, and the rest of the station knew only that I’d left Scotland Yard ‘under a cloud’ without being privy to the details.

When we were investigating the underground railway murders, chronicled very accurately in the book, Behind Closed Doors, Betty and I had found a stray dog and taken her in to our home. Though we’d have loved to keep the little nipper, we did the right things and placed an advertisement in the local newspaper, seeking the dog’s true owner, who we thought might be missing her, though by the state of little Lillie, as called her, her previous owner hadn’t been too kind to her, if you catch my meaning. Well, imagine my surprise, when, one evening there was a knock on our front door. The man who stood there, claiming the dog to be his looked familiar and when he opened his mouth to speak, I realized that standing before me was the man who had killed Constable Vane and shot me in the shoulder ten years previously. As realization dawned on the little jackal’s face, he ran for it and I gave chase, eventually bringing him down and arresting the man who was later tried, convicted and hanged for the murder of young Vane. Betty was pleased for me and everyone at the station congratulated me on solving a ten year old murder case, but all I felt was a strange sense of relief, as though I could let the guilt over Vane’s death go at last, now that his killer had been brought to justice. So you see, if we hadn’t taken in little Lillie, a killer would still be on the loose and I’d still be carrying around a burden of guilt that Betty always says was misplaced but that needed the case to be solved before I could let it go in my own mind.
What memorable cases have you worked on? What was the most important case you worked on; the one that stands out?

To my mind, Carole, every case is important as they usually involve either the loss of someone’s life or the theft of something precious from its owner, but if you were to ask which is the most unusual case I’ve investigated, the one that really stands out, well, just listen to this.
Some years ago, while I was a young inspector at Scotland Yard, I was assigned the case of a young woman who had died in mysterious circumstances in her own home. Her husband, a young clerk working for a bank in the city allegedly arrived home from work one day to find his wife, Mary Deacon, slumped in a chair, breathing expired. I arrived at the house soon after the alarm had been raised, and together with my sergeant at that time, Nathan Vigo, began the investigation into Mary’s demise. The husband, Joseph Deacon, assured us that the house was locked upon his return from work, and that there had been no sign of a break in through any of the windows. Their two year old baby girl, Emily, was sound asleep in her cot in their first floor bedroom, none the worse for the tragedy that had taken place downstairs. Vigo and I conducted a vigorous and complete investigation and yet, after a period of three days, we could find no suspect who may have wished to harm Mary, no one who she had even had a minor disagreement with, and, more strangely, the doctor who conducted the postmortem on her body deduced that Mary Deacon had died from Arsenical poisoning. At this point, the husband was arrested, as Arsenical poisoning would have taken place over a period of time, and yet, we found no trace of arsenic in the house or small garden shed, and a tour of local pharmacies and apothecaries resulted in not one of them being able to state that Joseph Deacon had at any time purchased arsenic from them.

The case was further compounded three weeks later, as Joseph languished in prison, still protesting his innocence. Prior to his arrest he had hired a nurse to take care of Emily while he was at work and his wife’s younger sister, Charlotte had taken to spending the nights in the spare room to help care for the child. So, when both Emily and the nurse were discovered dead by Charlotte three weeks after Mary’s death, we had a real conundrum on our hands. They both died from Arsenical poisoning! It may have been possible for Joseph Deacon to slowly poison his wife and perhaps his own baby daughter too, but he had certainly not had time to commit any such act against the nurse, Caroline Bailey.

His own father, and indeed his father-in-law had always protested that Joseph would never harm his wife and certainly not his child, and now we were forced to believe that he may in fact be innocent of the crimes. Deacon was released for lack of evidence and returned to his home, where he tried to return his life to some sort of order. Imagine our thoughts when he came running into the police station some days later to say his sister-in-law, Charlotte had been taken into the Royal Hospital, suffering from severe gastric pains and delirium. These were symptoms of arsenical poisoning! Vigo and I returned to the house with Deacon, where the man wracked his brains as he fought to think of any way in which arsenic could have been introduced into the home without his knowledge. A further search by Vigo and myself found nothing, and sadly, Charlotte passed away two days later in the hospital. The case looked fated to remain unsolved and Joseph Deacon was almost forgotten, when months later, we heard his body had been found in the living room of his home, a neighbour attracted by the smell emanating through the walls. When the neighbour was interviewed, he happened to mention that it was sad that such a tragedy had befallen the young family next door, especially as they had worked so hard to make a good life together and in fact had spent a good deal of their money in redecorating their small home to make it as comfortable as possible. The neighbour then told us that it was also strange that his own wife was upstairs, quite poorly too, as though the houses in the street were carrying some kind of curse. I asked if his wife had seen a doctor, and no she had not. I arranged for her to be seen by a police surgeon as I had a suspicious mind and things just did not seem right in these homes.

Our local police surgeon, Doctor Holmes, arrived soon afterwards and had no difficulty in diagnosing Mrs Miller as being a sufferer from arsenical poisoning! It was indeed Doctor Holmes who now gave me the clue that would lead to the solution of this strangely mysterious case. He asked me to inquire of the householder when he last had his home decorated. When Mr. Miller replied that his living room had been wallpapered some three months earlier, at the same time as the living room of the Deacons. Dr Holmes took me to one side and told me to have Miller remove himself from his home as soon as possible.

Apparently, the medical profession has held suspicions for some time that the new-fangled wallpapers we’ve been using to decorate our homes might be responsible for a number of cases of people falling ill, and certain of these wallpapers contained arsenic, used in the colouration of the paper. When we took scrapings of the wallpaper in the two houses, and had them looked at by our police surgeon he did indeed discover large quantities of arsenic in the wallpapers and it appeared that in hot weather especially, the wallpaper gave off a vapour containing arsenic, thus poisoning those who spent time in its close proximity. The manufacturers of these wallpapers had denied that their goods might be harming people, but, the case I’ve just laid out before you proved to be the one that made the authorities sit up and take notice and pressure has since been brought to bear on the wallpaper makers to eliminate arsenic from their products completely. Most have voluntarily agreed though some are proving hard to convince and I feel sure the government will soon bring pressure to bear on those companies to ensure no-one else is effectively poisoned by their own home. So, Carole, there you have it, mysterious deaths, a locked house, no motive to be found and in the end, the case that I still think of as, ‘The murders that never were.’
What is your very favorite food?

Without a doubt, nothing can beat my Betty’s home-made meat and potato pie. When the weather is hot I like nothing better than a nice lump of cheese with some of Betty’s home-made bread, very tasty!
Do you like a pint now and then after a hard day?

Sometimes, yes, especially after we close a case, or sometimes, in the case of a difficult one to solve, like the underground railway murders of the house that killed its owners, you can find me and Dylan Hillman sitting together, mulling over the case or just life in general, at The Spotted Hound, or sometimes at the Ferret Arms.

Do you smoke?

Yes I do. I love nothing more than relaxing in the evening with a pipe of the best shag tobacco.
What are your theories about Jack the Ripper? Was there ever anyone that you thought most likely of being guilty? And why do you think the murders stopped?

My own theories on the identity of Jack the Ripper were fairly well chronicled in the narrative chronicled in the story of the underground murders, written as Behind Closed Doors. I still believe that the perpetrator of those heinous crimes may have been the Ripper and of course, the killings did indeed stop after his death which lends some weight to my theory, I believe. There are other theories of course, and my friend and colleague, Frederick Abberline holds a totally different theory as to the Ripper’s true identity. So many officers of all ranks in the Metropolitan Police Force hold to their own ideas about the case and perhaps, in time, we will get a break in the case and Jack the Ripper will be brought to justice. Whoever he is, or was, there has to be reason why the killings ended with Mary Kelly, but until we apprehend the villain, we have to accept that the case throws up more questions than we have answers for. I’m sorry I can’t be more informative than that on the case, which of course is still an open investigation as far as the Metropolitan Police Force is concerned.

What is your favourite pub?

The Spotted Hound, Carole. The landlord, Sykes, an ex-policeman himself, has known me for years and there’s always a cheery welcome when I walk in the place. And, they keep my favourite beer on tap there.

I imagine your wife has been so supportive of you. Does she have hobbies that help her not to miss you when you are busy on a case? Does she have family close by?

She loves to bake and to cook of course, and her family only live about a mile and a half from us, so she will often walk our two dogs over to their house to visit with them. She is very supportive of me in my work and I know I can tell her things about some of my less sensitive cases that she will keep to her own counsel and often she has provided me with alternative ways of looking at things, with successful results, I might add.

Can you remember the first meal Betty cooked for you? In confidence, what was it like?

It was her meat and potato pie of course, and, I say, it was as good back then as it is today.

Where do you two like to get away to? Perhaps the same place you went to on your honeymoon?

Ah well, you see, a policeman’s wages, even those of an inspector, don’t really run much to holidays and such-like. If I do have time off work we usually enjoy walks in the park together with the dogs, or sometimes, we’ll get dressed up and catch an omnibus into the city and visit one or two of the great London museums, full of interest they are. I especially love the British Museum, with its vast galleries and rooms full of objects from around the world.

Tell me Inspector, what sorts of books do you read? I should imagine you like a good mystery!

Books? Let me see. My wife and I both read The Bible regularly, having both been brought up as church-going folk. Betty also bought me a book for Christmas, 1887, called Beeton’s Christmas Annual that contained a really good story by a man called Arthur Conan Doyle, about a fictional detective called Mr. Sherlock Holmes. It was called ‘A Study in Scarlet’ and made for a fine read, though of course, being fictional, it tended not to be as accurate as real-life policing. With my time being taken up mostly by my cases, reading is not something I can spend a lot of time indulging in, certainly not long books so I tend to read magazines and the latest newspapers when I have time.

Thank you so much for talking to me Inspector. It’s been a pleasure talking to you and learning more about your fascinating life and career. Can you tell me, finally, what your immediate plans for the future are?

Certainly, Carole. As soon as we’ve departed for home, Betty and I will take Billie and Lillie for a stroll in the park and then I shall leave Betty to prepare a tasty meat and potato pie while I take myself off to The Spotted Hound, where my sergeant and friend, Dylan Hillman will be waiting to hear all about my meeting with a famous lady writer. After that, who knows what life will throw at us tomorrow?

So true, Inspector!

You can indeed purchase Author Brian L. Porter's Behind Closed Door which is now on sale for $.99 cents!