It’s 1829, and Dr. William Whitcraft has just had the breakthrough of a lifetime—he’s discovered a miraculous new treatment for hysteria. And it’s just in time, too, as he and his colleagues have had their hands full with the suffering, fits of rage, and coquettish behavior of its female victims. The best available treatment has always been pelvic massage, but it’s so very exhausting and unpleasant for the administering physician, often taking hours before a successful “conclusion” is obtained.
After fruitless attempts to improve the process, Dr. Whitcraft almost gave up. But then he consulted Elizabeth Minnock, famous London procuress. Bemused by his pursuit, she casually showed him a five-step manual technique, guaranteed to work on every woman, every time…and in less than ten minutes.
Now, throngs of hysterical women flock to receive the Whitcraft Maneuver, and his practice is thriving. And when he publishes his findings in the Lancet, he’ll be the most celebrated physician in England.
But a dashing fellow professional has other ideas, and hatches an evil plan to make the Whitcraft Maneuver his own. Dr. Whitcraft is thunderstruck by his treachery, and can only watch as the credit for the most important medical breakthrough in recent history is stolen away. But Mrs. Minnock is a powerful ally, and together they hatch a diabolical plan of their own…a plan for revenge.
“Where is she, then?”
“Can’t you hear, Doctor? Just follow the screaming, up the hall and to the right. She’s destroyed absolutely every piece of furniture in her dressing-room and has moved on to Mr. Wedfellow’s study—”
“Good Lord,” Dr. Whitcraft muttered, quickening his pace as the butler followed closely behind. Now that he was deeper into the house, he could begin to make out the ravings of his patient in the throes of a hysterical rage. It was likely going to be a difficult morning.
“And where is Mr. Wedfellow?”
“I would guess that he has stepped out, sir,” said the butler as he rushed past and stopped in front of the closed study door. Behind it, it sounded as though a team of laborers were rearranging the room.
Dr. Whitcraft stepped forward, flattened his palm against the door and leaned in to listen. He grimaced at a profoundly unfeminine string of curses—and then there was a monumental crash.
The two men drew breath and looked at one another with wide eyes. Dr. Whitcraft pursed his lips and placed his hand on the knob.
It was locked, of course.
“Is there a key?”
The butler’s frightened countenance turned contemplative. “I believe there may be, sir. In the pantry. I’ll have to go and see.”
The butler scurried down the corridor. Dr. Whitcraft turned back to the door, pondering. What was the best way to go about managing this difficult situation?