Date Published: June 2018
Pendergrass loved the city of London. But the economic success of the late 1800s had a dark side. London attracted criminals like a magnet. They immigrated to England from everywhere on earth to feed on the innocent, the naïve, and the desperate. Doctor Pendergrass knew their handiwork – stabbings, beatings, and maimings – they filled as many hospital beds as cholera and dysentery.
World commerce had set upon England like a stiff wind from the sea that utterly refused to cease. It brought wealth, prosperity, business, banking, and, to some of its citizens, all the accoutrements of success. But, all was not good, and Pendergrass was all too aware of the city’s underbelly. London herself was blessed beyond measure. Like the finest lady in waiting, she attended the needs of a great nation. Yet, she was cursed by the very blessings that made her mistress great.
That played hard in the minds of those who struggled to make ends meet, during what they were told were the best times in England’s history. Those on the fringes of wealth and success, just beyond its welcome grasp, pressed on, hoping for the best, as the best played out all around them, and without them.
It was on the fringes of the hard-working classes that another element carved its niche in London’s great financial success. An element that was drawn to the great boom in industry, the rise in population, and the raging influx of money. Like moths to a flame they crawled out of their hiding places in England, on the continent, and from all other parts of the world, to see how they might profit from the furious growth and commerce that beset the businesses of London.
But these elements had no aristocratic connections, and regarded hard work, any real work, with contempt. Their mantra was, “let the mindless fools play out their lives in stress and backbreaking labor.”They thought they had a more clever way to riches. Their devices were thievery and robbery, mischief and mayhem, deceit, larceny, blackmail and murder.
Pendergrass was not happy about the decay of law and order. He was not happy about it in the least. He and his associates at Saint Bartholomew’s Hospital were working grueling days, and it seemed no matter how hard they worked, or how innovative they were, the flow of brutalized Londoners through their front doors was endless. Pendergrass mulled over the city’s plight.
“There is a mean element at work in our beloved London. An element that knows no bounds and is unfettered by decency. Left unchecked, it will be the ruin of us all.” He pondered the problem often, almost daily, as he read his morning paper.
The situation seemed to be getting worse, in spite of Howard Vincent’s appointment as Scotland Yard’s Director of Criminal Investigations. If 10,000 bobbies couldn’t stop the crime wave, what could be done? What could the individual citizens of London do to make a difference?
Pendergrass was seething mad. He had no idea what others might do, but he knew exactly what he intended to do.
About the Author
John David Buchanan grew up in San Antonio, Texas in a military family, went to Southwest Texas University, and upon graduating with a Masters Degree in Science, worked as an environmental specialist for 26 years. He started and ran his own firm, Buchanan Environmental Associates, for 18 years. Now, he’s a writer and musician, and also the chef, yard boy, pool boy and handyman at his home in Humble, Texas.
Buchanan published three science fiction books as part of his Jump Starting the Universe Series, and while working on book three of that series, got the idea for his new book, The Obsession of Dr. Pendergrass. He never enjoyed history in school, but then, he made a trip to England with his wife and visited Hastings. He’s been interested in history ever since. He’s traveled to London several times, and loved it every time he went. So, using it as the location of this story seemed perfect.