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There are two Harry Escott stories: "The Pot of Tulips" and "What Was It?" It hit me that they both offer a separate "master plot" for this kind of story.
In "The Pot of Tulips," a ghost essentially urges Escott to help him expose the location of a will. The ghost acts as the detective's client, in other words, but communication is severely curtailed, so Escott has to use his detective skills to figure out what's what.
In "What Was It?" a malevolent (or very scared) invisible yet physical creature invades our realm. Escott's job is to conquer/control/eradicate it one way or another. The supernatural monster, then, becomes not the client but the culprit -- the one that has broken criminal laws by trespassing and causing harm but also natural laws by being here in the first place. This, I suspect, is the master plot of most occult detective/monster hunter fiction, at least since Carnacki and John Silence.
Any thoughts? Does this hold up? Can you think of any other master plots -- or perhaps significant "sub-master plots" that fit under those two?
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