The Judge Pursuivant Trilogy3 books in series
The Hairy Ones Shall Dance Publisher's Summary
This is the first spellbinding novel in multi-fantasy award winner Manley Wade Wellman's classic horror trilogy about Judge Hilary Pursuivant, the jurist so deeply seeped in the lore of deviltry and supernatural evil - that no one or thing, not even the most powerful of dark forces, can stand against him.
Talbot Wills, a skeptic, gave up his career as a stage magician to study psychic phenomena - and once and for all prove or disprove its existence to himself. Learning this, his friend Doctor Otto Zoberg, an expert in occult subjects, brings him to an isolated hamlet to attend a séance at the home of a spirit medium whose powers are legendary. There Talbot meets Susan Gird, an intelligent and likable young woman, and after an afternoon together finds himself attracted to her. The séance is held that night - and though everyone is handcuffed to someone else, a strange wolf-like shape moves in the dark. When Susan Gird's father cries out some sort of accusation, the shape leaps upon him and slaughters him.
The town constable investigates and, since Wills is a magician and escape artist, arrests him for the crime. Later, while Talbot is locked in jail, an angry mob gathers to lynch him. With his knowledge of locks, Talbot breaks out his cell and in eluding his pursuers finds himself in the Devil's Croft, a mysterious grove which most locals are afraid to approach. As he enters it, Wills falls, exhausted. What happens next shatters his skepticism for good.
Fleeing, Talbot meets Judge Pursuivant, a giant of a man both physically and mentally, and a man with an almost uncanny knowledge of the occult who promises to help him and Susan. Soon Susan and Talbot find their only hope of saving themselves from sudden and frightful death is to battle side-by-side with Judge Pursuivant against the frightful thing that lives in the Devil's Croft. Thus begins this classic novel of hideous, stark horror from Weird Tales.