In 1928, Weird Tales magazine published H. P. Lovecraft’s most well-known short story, The Call of Cthulhu, that featured as a minor character a New Orleans police official, John Raymond Legrasse.
In 2005, horror writer C. J. Henderson released a collection of six short stories revolving around the continuing adventures of the police inspector. Together, The Tales of Inspector Legrasse form a braided novel, each story illuminating Legrasse’s struggle to maintain both his sanity and purpose as he works with others to thwart the imminent destruction of the world.
The collection starts off with Lovecraft’s seminal work, The Call of Cthulhu, when in 1908 Legrasse asks attendees of an anthropological society meeting to identify a statuette of unidentifiable greenish-black stone. The description is that of the famous Old One, Cthulhu:
The figure, which was finally passed slowly from man to man for close and careful study, was between seven and eight inches in height, and of exquisitely artistic workmanship. It represented a monster of vaguely anthropoid outline, but with an octopus-like head whose face was a mass of feelers, a scaly, rubbery-looking body, prodigious claws on hind and fore feet, and long, narrow wings behind. This thing, which seemed instinct with a fearsome and unnatural malignancy, was of a somewhat bloated corpulence, and squatted evilly on a rectangular block or pedestal covered with undecipherable characters. The tips of the wings touched the back edge of the block, the seat occupied the centre, whilst the long, curved claws of the doubled-up, crouching hind legs gripped the front edge and extended a quarter of the way down towards the bottom of the pedestal. The cephalopod head was bent forward, so that the ends of the facial feelers brushed the backs of huge fore-paws which clasped the croucher's elevated knees. The aspect of the whole was abnormally lifelike, and the more subtly fearful because its source was so totally unknown. Its vast, awesome, and incalculable age was unmistakable; yet not one link did it show with any known type of art belonging to civilization's youth—or indeed to any other time.
In the second story in the collection, Patiently Waiting, Inspector Legrasse returns to New Orleans to discover the ritual he and his men interrupted some months earlier was a preliminary to a final rite that will truly destroy the world. The rest of the stories continue Legrasse’s adventures along with compatriots he has picked up in his journeys until their research eventually leads them to a wind-swept glacier in the Himalayas where they have their final conflict with those who would bring Cthulhu back into the world.
The stories are very well written with the exception of the third story of the collection, To Cast Out Fear. Though Henderson introduces two important characters (one very reminiscent of Doctor Strange), the message of the piece on how love can undermine the plans of the Old Ones as they do not understand it seems saccharin and very much out of place, a philosophy once stated is never referred to ever again even though it appears to be a potent weapon. In spite of that literary hiccup, the collection is a masterpiece of Henderson’s writing where he takes a minor character of Lovecraft's fiction and makes it his own.