The Carpathian Assignment
Chip Wagar, author
Located in the remote province of Transylvania in late nineteenth-century Hungary, Bistritz is a quaint provincial city nestled in the Carpathian mountains and forests. For one looking forward to a quiet retirement, the pretty Baroque town seems ideal. Such are the thoughts of Kálváry Istvan, a recently widowed and retired cavalry colonel, as he arrives to take up his last assignment as Chief of Police in the Spring of 1896. Istvan's expectations are dashed almost immediately upon his arrival.He learns that his predecessor’s sudden and unexplained disappearance, along with his pretty wife, was the reason for his appointment. The authorities in Budapest also neglected to mention a manhunt underway in the district lead by Gábor Kasza, a brilliant young investigator from the Royal Hungarian Gendarmerie. Kasza's superiors suspect a serial killer haunts the streets of Bistritz and the surrounding Carpathian farms and villages. Applying the latest methods of detection in the new field of scientific, deductive reasoning, and psychiatry, Istvan and Kasza suspect the Roma, a persecuted minority making their home in a hidden village in the thick forests of the Carpathian Mountains. While investigating the strange activities of the Roma, the detectives find that the isolated mountain people of the Carpathians have a different explanation for the killings. They point to the ancient, abandoned castle towering over the Borgo Pass - and fearfully whisper a name: Dracula.
Wagar effectively introduces pioneering sexual pathology expert Richard, Baron von Krafft-Ebing into the Dracula story, in what’s billed as an unabridged version of Bram Stoker’s tale. In 1896, Kalvary Istvan—recently retired from the Austrian army, depressed, and at loose ends—gets a new lease on life when he’s appointed the chief of police of Transylvania’s Bistritz district. On taking up his new post, Istvan is alarmed to learn that his predecessor has disappeared without trace and that the authorities suspect a serial killer, who has slaughtered on a massive scale, is at work in the region. Word of Istvan’s investigation reaches Vienna, where Krafft-Ebing has partnered with Sigmund Freud on a government grant to apply their breakthroughs into the human mind to studying criminal behavior. Readers looking for a different angle on a classic will be rewarded. (BookLife)