Hartog Backstory: The Ouijan trilogy (2011-2012)

The European counterpart of Hartog makes an appearance in The Ouijan Trilogy, a three-novel exploration, by Inspector Larpour of Castle Garden, Brooklyn, of his hitherto unexplored continental roots in Europe. In particular, Larpour has developed, in his age, a strange theory, to explain certain temperament issues in his personality, and certain odd, almost paraphiliac attractions he has, that there is, what else could explain it?, the blood of a werewolf in his family.

‘Mith Street (2011), the first novel, is a translation to Brooklyn of the 1931 classic movie The Werewolf of London, repurposed as a religiose-medical folk tale retold to explain a rash of murders that swept through Smith Street, Brooklyn, in a recent summer. In this novel, Inspector Mustela of the local precinct works with Larpour as well as a local barber, Vito, and florist, Paul, to chase down a Smith Street werewolf, who ends up to be their good friend Heidenjagt, who is killing many of the lovely young ladies on the street.

The sequel, The Beast of Ouijan (2012), involves Larpour laying out a fear that the werewolf accused of the murders in the first volume, may be family, leading him to return to the eastern Moselle-Rhine borderland of France and Germany, centered around Trier, Germany, where in the haunted town of Ouijan, near the equally haunted town of Hartog, he hears both the history of the beast of Ouijan, set in the 18th century reign of Louix XIV, around the estate grounds of his ancestor, the not-very-nice Duke de Larpour, and investigates its modern reoccurrence, in Hartog.

This volume is drawn from my own conclusion of research into the famous French folk tale of the Beast of Gevauden, the subject of many a film (The Brotherhood of the Wolf) and documentary, coopted for the sake of family history (I have in recent years determined that on my mother’s side my family came from a nearby town, with its own werewolf folk tale).

Finally, Arma Christi (2012), the last volume of the trilogy, involves Larpour, with less clear mind, and another theory, other than that of werewolfism, explaining the family disability or curse in a more medical way, but also having to do with travelling back to France to uncover the history of his 19th private investigator predecessor, and a family secret. It includes not only a 19th century Paris crime investigation in the world of the salons and artists studios, who makes use of the Catholic arma Christi translated into steampunk implements as the tools of his trade, to discover how his father and mother died during the Revolution, but also a flashback, after a visit to Larpour’s uncles country villa near, again, Ouigan, told my Quignet, the family dwarf, of adventures in New France, where Denis Marquette meets Oua, an Indian maid, and bring the Piasa monster back to France, securing it in an abandoned lodge in forest just south of the Larpour grounds, creating still another theory of the origin of the Beast.

This novel also includes Goetz Kreuzregen flushing a monster out of a coastal Mexican town in the 1950s and Baron de Quemaderos, executed in Mexico by the Inquisition, magically revived to fight the mythical Piasa in New French Illinois—all of which Larpour weaves into a fantastical tapestry explaining his genealogical character. More later.

 

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