I’ve always imagined that vampires would be particularly adept at a great deal of card and tabletop endeavors giving the fact that they have centuries of time to practice their skills. Some research into the topic dug up several references to the game of whist in vampire lore – likely owing to the popularity of whist as a common activity either when these stories were written or set.
Here follows some unearthed referenced to vampires and whist.
The Parasite (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)
“Why, when I was at the Mardens’ whist-table, I was dragged away as if the noose of a rope had been cast round me.”
Not the 2019 horror movie The Parasite, but an earlier book written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1894.
It’s an interesting delve into the mystical from the author of the original Sherlock Holmes tales, with a passing mention to a parasite at the whist table.
The next time you’re tempted to walk away from a bridge game, remember The Parasite…
The Murders in the Rue Morgue (Edgar Allen Poe)
“Whist has long been noted for its influence upon what is termed the calculating power; and men of the highest order of intellect have been known to take an apparently unaccountable delight in it, while eschewing chess as frivolous.”
The Murders in the Rue Morgue is a short story from Poe dating back to 1841. Today, a great deal of bridge players also branch out into other games.
Apparently, this was published right at the height of detective stories taking off – and Murders in the Rue Morgue is the story we can thank for an entire genre’s evolution. Authoring Sherlock Holmes as well certainly must have helped.
This isn’t a traditional vampire story, however appears in The Vampire Book: Encyclopedia of the Undead.
It’s also the title of a great Iron Maiden song.
Anno Dracula: One Thousand Monsters (Kim Newman)
“Not vampires Lord Ruthven would invite to Downing street for a rubber of whist and a nibble on the maid…”
Anno Dracula is a newer piece of vampire fiction released towards 2017.
If you enjoy a modern take on vampires, you’ll love this. It’s part of a series (with this being book #5) that explores an alternate universe where vampires took over around the time of Dracula.
Sure, you could start with the first book in the series, but read the fifth for the whist reference.
Vampire Bites: A Taste of the Drake Chronicles (Alyxandra Harvey)
“And I admit it, I hid among the potted ferns until Percy went to the cards room to play whist. Probably not very hunterlike of me…”
Next on the modern vampire fiction list is this one: Vampire Bites, released in 2013.
Vampires seem to have a thing for watching people play whist.
For the record, kibitzing outside of vampire fiction doesn’t have nearly the same connotations…
The Vampire’s Whist
“He’s the best whist-player in Florence, and if he could come to London he would be the best whist-player here.”
The Vampire’s Whist is a wonderfully obscure horror story (that I hadn’t heard about or read before).
It was first published in Harper’s Weekly and dates from somewhere in the 1800s. According to research, it was also published in Temple Bar (wonderfully, volume 13).
The best reference I could find, collecting the full tale, is hosted at this academic electronic collecton archive.
The link contains 216 more collections that encompass topics like 20th Century American Poetry and Archivision Architecture Images.
La Vida Vampire (Nancy Haddock)
“I’d met Shelly at the Historical Society and mentioned in passing that I was learning to play bridge on the internet – a game that evolved from whist, so it wasn’t that hard for me.”
La Vida Vampire is another series (with this being the first installment).
What caught my eye about this bridge reference is learning to play online. Cool touch on the author’s part – and well, I couldn’t help but wondering if their preferred playing platform might have been right here.