It has been some time since my last post but I am afraid work and time got the better of me. Nevertheless, I have now read After Her Blood twice over. I would like to say that it has helped me progress with Emma Fielding’s case but this would be some way from the truth. One or two short sections of the book are almost word for word straight from the pages of Incomer, but the story itself is weirdly at odds with it and yet at the same time strangely familiar.
From the opening two chapters alone it is not clear whether the anonymous accounts of the woman terrified from her sleep (Don’t Turn Round) and the young impressionable girl set adrift in the lonely isolation of a deserted village, are about Emma Fielding, and even from my own professional knowledge of Emma herself I cannot say for sure – although I do know there was trauma in her childhood that we never got the chance to explore in our sessions together before she went missing. I do believe that some clue to the mystery of After Her Blood lies both in its oblique reference to dual identity (to the notion of a ‘quantum disappearance’) and the peculiarly ambiguous ending, but more of that in a later post.
The central character – certainly after the first two chapters – is clearly Emma Fielding, Dr Emma Fielding, who has a young son called Lucas and a violent husband named Julian. In After Her Blood, however, Lucas is a small boy and Julian is still Emma’s husband; most significantly, he is not killed – at least not definitely. My apologies for being so mysterious but Julian Fielding’s fate in the book and, indeed, the end of the story itself, are both decidedly, and without a doubt most deliberately, ambiguous.
As to the book itself and to the pressing matter at hand regarding my investigation into Emma Fielding’s disappearance, I still have so many questions – why, for instance, was the book delivered specifically to me and in such a cloak and dagger fashion? How and why is it that two books published years apart are so similar and also share the same author, at least by name? Whatever the answers to these questions may be, I have no doubt that the book is connected to Emma Fielding, to myself and to the mystery of her vanishing in the same as yet unaccountable way.
I have attempted to trace the origins of After Her Blood’s publication, starting with the publisher, Speculo Press, and can state that no such publisher exists, at least not anymore. I started my search for information online in the obvious and then more obscure places, but hit another dead end; until Monaghan, a friend of mine who works in publishing, told me that he had heard of Speculo, that it had been a small, and for the last few years of its life, struggling imprint that published memoirs of little known authors and biographies of equally obscure origins. In 2011 the company finally succumbed to market forces and was forced to cease trading. One curious thing he told me was that the managing editor of Speculo disappeared and was presumed dead that same year when police found his car and discarded clothes on the Suffolk coast (he left no note). I have asked Monaghan to find out more if he can, including any information relating to Speculo’s back catalogue.
With respect to my investigation, however, the publisher is perhaps not so significant as the book itself – I will include the first chapter of After Her Blood in my very next post – but curious readers my be interested to know that the English translation of the Latin ‘Speculo’ is ‘glass’ – or ‘mirror’.