“The Adventure of the Dorset Street Lodger” — Michael Moorcock

Michael Moorcock is best known for his genre-redefining swords-and-sorcery series featuring the albino anti-hero Elric of Melniboné. Books featuring Elric include Stormbringer, The Bane of the Black Sword, and The Weird of the White Wolf, among many others. Other prominent works include the Eternal Champion series, the Warrior of Mars series, the Jerry Cornelius series, and the Hawkmoon series. Moorcock is a winner of numerous awards, including several career awards, such as being named a SFWA Grand Master and being inducted into the SF Hall of Fame, as well as being honored with the World Fantasy and Stoker life-time achievement awards.

Say you’ve just learned that a wealthy relative you didn’t even know existed recently passed away and has left to you, his or her only living descendant, a stately property. In fact, this doesn’t happen very often, but you wouldn’t know it judging from literature, particularly Victorian literature, where it sometimes seems as if eighty percent of the population is blessed with wealthy, generous, childless, and heretofore unknown relatives. Or maybe blessed isn’t exactly the word, because properties that come to us in this manner seem to always be mixed up with business such as ghosts or witchcraft or ancient feuds. And how is it that so many people are so ignorant of their own familial relations to begin with? Perhaps back in Victorian times families were so huge that it was easier to misplace a few relatives here and there. Our next tale is another in which a man is contacted by a wealthy relative he never knew existed. In this case though, our contactee is a wealthy man himself, and isn’t looking for any free houses to come his way simply by dint of a few fortuitous chromosomes. No, there are no haunted houses here, but plenty of trouble nonetheless.