Ghosts are like cats. They’re real — but they hardly come when called.Vera Van Slyke
Vera Van Slyke was a muckraking journalist in the era of Ida Tarbell, Upton Sinclair, Lincoln Stephens, and Nellie Bly. Van Slyke especially crusaded against Spiritualist mediums, confident they were all fakes. But she was also a ghost hunter with proof that spirits actually do haunt the living.
One Spiritualist medium Vera defrauded was Lida Prášilová. The fake psychic agreed to share her professional secrets with the journalist, which led to a ghost hunt – which led to a deep friendship. Chronicling the ghostly investigations she shared with Vera, Lida became a Watson to a very distinctive Holmes.
At present, there are three Vera Van Slyke books. More are planned. Though they can be read in any order, Help for the Haunted is a good place to start, followed by Guilt Is a Ghost. These “companion novels” cover Vera and Lida’s rocky meeting in 1899, the growth of their deep friendship, and their parting of ways in 1909. Did they ever reunite? The Hound of the Seven Mounds, set in 1923, answers that question.
Help for the Haunted: A Decade of Vera Van Slyke Ghostly Mysteries is a composite novel that chronicles thirteen distinct yet interwoven supernatural investigations conducted by ghost hunter Vera Van Slyke. After Vera, a muckraking journalist, defrauded the psychic medium Ludmila Prášilová, the two agreed to investigate reports of a ghost. They went on to form a friendship that rivaled Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson’s. Click here for details about these sometimes chilling, sometimes funny, always mysterious ghost hunts.
Guilt Is a Ghost: A Vera Van Slyke Ghostly Mystery is a novel that provides a full account of the first meeting between ghost hunter Vera Van Slyke and her “Dr. Watson,” Ludmila Prášilová. The year was 1899, and Ludmila was a phony medium conducting a séance at the Morley Mansion — but it ended tragically. By 1903, Ludmila had reformed and had become good friends with Vera. This was the same year when they were asked to return to the Morley Mansion to investigate the very haunting that they had brought about! This is the second in the Vera Van Slyke Ghostly Mysteries series, but you can either start here or with Help for the Haunted. Click here for more description and ordering information.
The Hound of the Seven Mounds takes place in 1923. Vera has been asked to join an investigation of a weird creature roaming the fields and pastures of rural Oklahoma. Not only does the supernatural thing shepherd a pack of fierce and and hungry dogs, it’s described as looking part-canine itself! Since it seems to be something other than a ghost, will Vera’s expertise be enough to solve the mystery? (And where is Lida?) This is the third novel in the series, but as with the earlier two, it can be read independently. Click here for more description and ordering information.