THE WHITE LADY OF POURVILLE (LA DAME BLANCHE DE POURVILLE)
Detective Sexton Blake and his apprentice Harry Dickson travel to Pourville to investigate the appearance of what seems to be the legendary White Lady, whose gaze drives men mad. Dickson befriends Adèle Blanc-Sec. Dickson and Adèle travel to Tiffauges to research the history of Gilles de Rays, and are told about de Rays and Joan of Arc by Doctor Jules de Grandin of the Faculty of Forensic Medicine of Paris. A false de Rays proves to be the archcriminal Fantômas, who is told to surrender by a policeman named Juve. Fantômas’ plan involved a Subatlantic locomotive, designed by the great French inventor, Arsène Golbert, and sabotaged by William Boltyn, the leader of the so-called “billionaires’ conspiracy.” The alleged White Lady is actually the mentally ill Paulette Arnaud, whose sister Thérèse works for the French Secret Service. Most of the cases of madness suffered by those who encountered Paulette were actually caused by an Indian poison called Rajaijah.
Short story by Michel Stéphan appearing as “La Dame Blanche de Pourville” in in Les Compagnons de L’Ombre (Tome 10), Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier, eds., Rivière Blanche, 2012, and then in English in Harry Dickson vs. the Spider, Jean-Marc and Randy Lofficier, eds., Black Coat Press, 2014. Harry Dickson, “the American Sherlock Holmes,” was the subject of German, Dutch, Belgian, and French pulp magazines, the latter written by Jean Ray. Sexton Blake is one of the most famous British penny dreadful detectives. G.L. Gick’s story “The Werewolf of Rutherford Grange” revealed Dickson served as an apprentice to Blake in his youth, before he struck out on his own as a detective. Adèle Blanc-Sec will later become a private investigator herself, as seen in Jacques Tardi’s comic book The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec. Doctor Jules de Grandin is Seabury Quinn’s occult detective, who appeared in the magazine Weird Tales. Fantômas and Juve are from the novels by Marcel Allain and Pierre Souvestre. Arsène Golbert and William Boltyn are from Gustave Le Rouge and Gustave Guitton’s pulp serial The Dominion of the World, which has been translated and adapted in four volumes by Brian Stableford. Thérèse Arnaud is from Pierre Yrondy’s The Adventures of Thérèse Arnaud of the French Secret Service, which has been translated by Nina Cooper for Black Coat Press. Rajaijah is from Hergé’s Tintin comic The Blue Lotus.
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