Twelve year-old Christine Bellamy has been invited by her best friend, Pepper McKenzie, to join her and her parents on a trip to England. That’s the good part. The bad part is that Pepper’s parents have invited her younger brother, Hal, to come as well, and Hal is loud, obnoxious and nosy.
The trip gets off to a strange start when Christine, Hal and Pepper make the acquaintance of Mr. Cubbington-Smith, an old friend of Mr. McKenzie’s, with whom they will be staying for the first two weeks of their holiday. Mr. Cubbington-Smith, who lives in a beautiful old manor house just outside of London, wears a necklace of garlic cloves and, when asked, explains that it’s to protect him from vampires. Pepper and Hal and even Pepper’s parents laugh at this, but Christine notices that the former army colonel seems perfectly serious. Mr. Cubbington-Smith has also protected his home from vampires, hanging garlands of garlic at every door and window, except the window of Christine and Pepper’s bedroom.
Then, one evening, after a busy day of sightseeing, the two girls are startled when a strange young man appears in their room. Dressed in a coat, waistcoat and pantaloons, he looks like he’s stepped down from one of the paintings on the wall, but, by his pale complexion, Christine and Pepper know he’s a vampire. Simon Chelling has come to the girls for their assistance. He and his fellow vampires, the girls learn, have existed for centuries, keeping to the shadows, and careful to drink only from those who are violent or dangerous, thereby, Simon claims, performing a public service to humans by ridding society of criminals. But a small group of renegade vampires has decided they are tired of hiding and tired of protecting humans, and has hired themselves out as assassins. Simon Chelling believes Mr. Cubbington-Smith is working for the renegade vampires, and wants Christine and Pepper to spy on him.
When the girls refuse to get involved, fearing the consequences of getting mixed up with the undead, Simon and his fellow vampires kidnap Hal. So begins a thrilling and, at times, comical adventure that takes the three kids into hidden tunnels and secret passages, over garden walls, and, quite literally, out onto a limb!
The Vampire’s Visit is the first of David A. Poulsen’s Salt and Pepper Chronicles!