Friday, September 7, 2018

The Darkest Days, Bk 6, The Adventures of Xavier & Vic. by Liza O'Connor





Cases to be Solved:
Blame it on the Pirate
The Muddled Theft of Masterpieces
Mrs. Haughton has a Ghost
Three Bullets to the Chest

The werewolf man is not a werewolf. He’s a man with Hypertrichosis, a rare disease in which excessive hair grows on parts of the human body. This disease can present itself from birth or later in life. 
The first documented case was in the 14th century in the Canary Islands.  Petrus Gonsalvus was taken to King Henry II’s court, then later he was sent to the court of the Regent of Nederlands. There, he married and had seven children, four of which also had the disease. The afflicted children were taken from Petrus and his wife and given to other royalties as pets (seriously). Since his wife did not have the disease and a male can only pass it to the female line, all four of these children must have been baby girls. I cannot imagine the horror of their lives. 
The above is the photo of a current little girl who hopefully has nice parents.

Another Hypertrichosis victim was a Mexican woman named Julia Pastrana. A very creepy man named Theodore Lent purchased her from a Mexican woman, who might have been her mother. Lent taught her to sing and dance, then took her on a tour as the ‘bearded and hairy woman’ through North America and Europe. She learned to read and write in three languages during her tour.
She also had another mutation which resulted in her having two rows of upper and bottom teeth, creating a large protruding jaw. To make matters worse, she had gingival hyperplasia, which gave her thick and protruding lips. The result being that one scientist of the time declared her to be part human/part orangutan. That was later proven false.

 She married Lent and became pregnant. The child also had Hypertrichosis, but died three days after birth. Julia died five days later due to complications. She was only 26 at her death. And here is why I declare Lent creepy. Instead of canceling the tour, Lent had a Russian doctor mummify her and his son, and continued to carry them about as a stuffed display.

Lent then found another woman with Hypertrichosis and married her. (This was evidently his way of keeping other tours from stealing his main attraction.) His tour made him wealthy, but in 1884 he was committed to a Russian mental institution and died there. Seems a fair ending for the man…

It took over a hundred years for Julia’s body to be properly buried. Finally, in 2012, Julia’s mummified body was returned to Mexico and buried in her home town.

In my story:
Richard Craft, the wolfman lived a quiet life with his mom, who did not have Hypertrichosis. Nor did his father. Naturally the father declared the furry boy was not his and abandoned his wife and child.

He had reason to think that true:

An affected female had a 50% chance of passing it to her offspring, but Richard’s mother showed no evidence of hypertrichosis.

An affected male could only pass this form of hypertrichosis to his daughters, but never the sons.

However, Hypertrichosis does not present itself in a single form.

Almost every case has slight differences. It is caused by mutations of the genes. Some of these mutations are strongly hereditary, but others are considered spontaneous mutations, which may indicate there is something in the environment causing the breakdown and mutation of the genes. For example, both women Theodore Lent found were from Mexico. Could the river water or the dangerous jobs both fathers have caused the mutated genes?

Even today, the common solution to making those afflicted with this rare disease appear ‘normal’ is to constantly shave. Fortunately, shavers have improved over time.

In Vic’s time, the straight blade was used for shaving and that would have taken forever. Fortunately, Vic’s brother-in-law David is an inventive fellow.

When the pot has too many cooks a feast can be ruined, and that’s exactly what happens with Xavier and Vic’s new cases. Each proves more complicated than initially thought with criminals dropping out of the sky, wreaking havoc upon Xavier, Vic, and their excellent employees. By the end, Vic threatens to open a school that teaches criminals how to stay out of each other’s way.

Worse yet, a treasured member of the staff is shot in the heart while attempting to save Vic and the Queen’s cousin.

Illuminated by the light of a lantern, the pretty blond milkmaid lay crumbled on the straw next to the cow she had been milking. The flesh of her neck was torn away as if a wild animal had attacked her.

Richard stumbled to her and touched her pale face, then pressed his ear to her chest, desperately hoping for the thumping of her heart.


Why would anyone kill such a beautiful girl, so young and sweet?

He sat back on his heels and howled in pain and anger.

The fur around his neck rose.


He would gladly stay and die for this beauty if doing so would return her life, but she was gone. He needed to fend for himself. Certain leaving through the door would be his death, he searched for another way out. Spotting an opening in the hayloft, he rushed up the ladder and reached the load door, grasping onto a rope that hung from a pulley, just as a man cried below. “Daisy, no! No!”

As Richard slid down, the rope tore chunks of hair from his hands. When he hit the ground, he ran across the field, dropping to his hands and knees upon the first fire of a rifle. When he reached the edge of the forest, he did not stop and watch.  More people were sure to arrive with guns.

He had to find someplace to hide. The villagers would blame him, the ‘wolfman’, for this senseless murder and they would hunt him down and tear him apart.


Liza O’Connor was raised badly by feral cats, left the South/Midwest and wandered off to find nicer people on the east coast. There she worked for the meanest man on Wall Street, while her psychotic husband tried to kill her three times. (So much for finding nicer people.) Then one day she declared enough, got a better job, divorced her husband, and fell in love with her new life where people behaved nicely. But all those bad behaviors has given her lots of fodder for her humorous books. Please buy these books, because otherwise, she’ll become grumpy and write troubled novels instead. They will likely traumatize you.
You have been warned.


The Adventures of Xavier & Vic Sleuth series: (Late Victorian/Mystery/Romance)
The Troublesome Apprentice — The greatest sleuth in Victorian England hires a young man who turns out to be a young woman.
The Missing Partner — Opps! The greatest sleuth in Victorian England goes missing, leaving Vic to rescue Xavier, a suffragette, and about 100 servants. Not to mention an eviscerating cat. Yes, let’s not mention the cat.
A Right to Love — A romantic detour for Jacko. Want to see how amply rewarded Jacko was when he & Vic save an old woman from Bedlam?
The Mesmerist — The Mesmerist can control people from afar and make them murder for her. Worse yet, Xavier Thorn has fallen under her spell.
Well Kept Secrets — The problems with secrets is that they always come to light, no matter how you wish to silence them.
Pack of Trouble — Changes are a part of life, but these changes almost kill Vic.
The Darkest Days — Muddled cases make Vic very grumpy.
The CrimeLords’ War — Vic is almost killed twice as she tries to prevent a CrimeLords’ War, stop a female Russian spy, and locate Xavier.
Toxic Diamonds — The Queen’s Diamonds have been stolen, Director Stone of Scotland Yard is missing, and there is a toxic gas that may kill hundreds of Londoners.
A Despicable Crime --  Xavier's worst nightmare comes to life. Several of the Crime Lords discover that Xavier has a living mother. The desire to make Xavier dance to their whims is too irresistible to ignore. If they own his mother, they’ll own Xavier.

Investigate these sites:

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