Dracula's diary reveals a complex, all-too-human character in this lush, entertaining, and generally convincing first novel by an Oxford-trained psychiatrist. Young Laszlo Dracula, second son of a deceased Hungarian nobleman, dreams of devoting his life to the scientific study of the human mind. Sent to Paris in 1866 to become a doctor, 23-year-old Laszlo assists by day at the infamous SalpÃªtriÃ¨re Hospital while socializing by night with the wealthy friends of his cousin, Nichole. Sinister but clever man-about-town Lothar von Pick soon takes it upon himself to introduce Laszlo to a top tailor and a gentlemen's brothel -- where he is deflowered by an unbalanced young woman he tends at the sanitarium. Repelled by his unethical behavior yet unable to restrain himself, Laszlo makes a mistress of this vulnerable patient, until a fit of jealousy causes him to ""accidentally"" cut her throat and flee Paris to avoid a murder charge. Back in the castle, Laszlo discovers that his older brother has died; he assumes the count's title, responsibilities, and even his wife. A 20-year period of isolation and sexual abstinence follows, until Laszlo again feels the beast within him begin to emerge. Soon, another mistress is murdered in a fit of jealousy, a prostitute is killed during a late-night drinking binge, and, finally, the local village maidens begin disappearing one by one. Rumors of vampires fly through the town as each corpse is found more viciously ravished than the one before -- and as Count Dracula, now middle-aged and fully aware of the doom that awaits him, hurtles ever-faster down the slope of sin and degradation. Anscombe's characters are richly drawn, and his pseudo-Victorian prose is a pleasure to read -- though once we understand where poor Laszlo is headed, the suspense inevitably begins to falter.