Arthur Holmwood's sister Mary

Many of Dracula's characters seem to have grown up as a single child: never do we read about the siblings Jonathan, Mina, Arthur, Quincey, Dr. Seward or Professor Van Helsing may have had. The same applies to Count Dracula: he appears as a solitary character, only accompanied by three "weird sisters" whom he obviously despises. In the Icelandic version, Makt myrkranna, however, the Count tells Harker about his father, his uncle and his cousin; he also has been married three times—although these spouses have died already when the young lawyer arrives in Transylvania. On the side of the vampire hunters, Arthur Holmwood has a sister now, named Mary. In the course of the story, we learn that she has married a mysterious diplomat, against the will of her family. Soon after the marriage, the couple relocates to Constantinople (Istanbul), where her husband has a diplomatic position.

Mary Singleton née Mary Montgomerie Lamb (Violet Fane)
Mary Singleton née Mary Montgomerie Lamb (Violet Fane)

This story reminded me of that of Mary Singleton (1843-1905), who wrote under the pen name "Violet Fane." In London circles, she was known for her beauty and witty conversation. She played a prominent role as the unhappily married Mrs. Sinclair in W.H. Mallock’s roman à clef, named The New Republic (1877). Mary Singleton was unhappily married indeed: after being rejected by her lover, she married the elderly Henry Sydenham Singleton, but in the early 1880s exchanged secret vows with Philip Lord Currie of the Foreign office, and also had an affair with Philip’s cousin. In well-informed circles, to which also Stoker belonged, her liaison with Sir Philip became a public secret—especially as she hinted at her luckless situation in The Edwin and Angelina Papers and in her novel The Adventures of a Savage (1881). The latter dealt with a young woman bored with her elder husband and betraying him with a younger lover; the story had a happy ending when the “old squire” died and the heroine was reunited with her “young squire.” Appropriately, Henry S. Singleton died in March 1893 and within ten months, Mary had married Sir Philip Currie, the newly appointed Ambassador to Constantinople. The couple moved to Constantinople only a few days after their wedding.


The parallel with the Icelandic text may very well have been a coincidence—but what a rare one! Apart from the possible connection with Mary Holmwood, we should note that "Singleton" is the surname name Stoker used in his notes for a psychic agent, Alfred Singleton.



  • "Makt Myrkranna—Mother of all Dracula Modifications?" Letter from Castle Dracula, the official news bulletin of The Transylvanian Society of Dracula, Special Icelandic Issue, pages 3-20. Published on 4 February 2014. Including revisions of 4 February 2014, 17:45 GMT+2.
  • "Bram Stoker’s Original Preface for Dracula Revealed?" Letter from Castle Dracula, the official news bulletin of The Transylvanian Society of Dracula, Special Easter Issue, pages 3-21. Published on 18 April 2014.
  • Powers of Darkness—The Lost Version of Dracula (with a foreword by Dacre Stoker and an afterword by John Edgar Browning). New York: Overlook Publishing/Abrams; London: Duckworth. Release date: 7 February 2017. Including:
    1. "Introduction: The Forgotten Book."
    2. "A Room with a View: The Floorplans of the Icelandic Castle Dracula.
  • "A Triplet Comes Seldom Alone." Updated introduction essay to the translation of Makt myrkranna. Submitted on 8 April 2017. Published by Carbonio Editore, Milan, 2019, in the Italian edition of Powers of Darkness.