VAN DER ELST, Violet. Death of the Vampire Baroness. London: Modern Fiction Ltd, .
8vo. Original colour printed paper wrappers; pp.80; minor staple abrasion, rubbing to covers; nevertheless a very good example of an exceedingly fragile work.
A scarce collection of gloriously terrible short stories in the supernatural vein from Violet van der Elst, a self-claimed psychic who raised herself into fortune by developing the world's first brushless shaving cream, but died poor and alone after spending her wealth campaigning against the death penalty. Four stories in this collection were originally printed in The Torture Chamber (1937), but the remaining three, including the titular Vampire Baroness, originated in this volume.
In Death of the Vampire Baroness, the Baroness de la Red Court (a 'beautiful woman with the soul of a sensualist') is inexplicably murdered by her cuban lover (who also plays the fiddle to no dramatic purpose whatsoever). Vampires don't seem to come into it either.
In A House for Sale, a rather unfortunate house buyer is caught up in yet another case of two men arguing over a woman, except this time the lover dies, rather predicably becoming a ghost. The sight of this, of course, causes the poor woman's soul to leave her body in a bizarre case of sympathetic mortality. The relator doesn't seem to realize that the ghost problem might be a problem for potential buyers.
In My Voyage to the Planets she dispenses with the story framework utterly and instead rants for three pages about her dream of an idyllic utopian planet.
No copies listed on Copac; 2 on WorldCat (Monash Univ.; Houghton Library, Harvard). None located on the commercial market at the time of cataloguing.