Grave Importance by Vivian Shaw
My sister and I have never had the best history of recommending books to each other. I probably shouldn't be telling you considering this is a book review blog. hahahaha. Back in the 1990s, I recommended to her a set of gentle, crime novels, the Mitchell & Markby mysteries. My sister developed such a pathological hatred of Mitchell (or was it (Markby?) that for a short time I thought she was going to hunt down the author to have a very 'strong word' or worse. Following this we've always circled each other warily when it comes to book reviews and now only recommend the very best to each other such as the Vivian Shaw Greta Helsing series.
Grave Importance is the third book in the series featuring Dr Greta Helsing. Greta comes from a long line of Vampire Hunters who have since turned their hand to curing and understanding the creatures her family once hunted. In this Novel, Greta takes on the role of Interim Medical Director at Oasis Natrun, a spa and medical facility for Mummies. However several of the Mummies are struck down with a sudden. swift and mysterious illness. What could be causing this?
As always, Greta is aided by her friends that include vampires Ruthven, Varney and Grissaille, witches and the Mummy Tefnakhte.
You'll be pleased to know that my Sister has recommended a good one here. These books are great fun! The style is humorous and the supporting cast are fab. My favourite is Ruthven, immensely rich and with the most exquisite taste in everything from clothes to bedlinen, but who is ultimately very kind and generous. Fas is Greta's oldest friend who resides in hell trying to run the Monitoring and Evaluation department and who has noticed a rather worrying anomaly. Greta herself is immensely likeable. She genuinely cares for the creatures that require her attention.
The humour in these novels is that Vivian Shaw has turned everything we think we know on its head. It has all the feels of the film 'Dogma'. Heaven and Hell work closely together. Hell is not a flaming cesspool of agonised screams, but is a beautiful place and it's master Samael is very beloved by its inhabitants. Dr Faust makes an appearance and there is a bar that people in hell can go and enjoy a flaming drink.
Vivian Shaw has paid care to the detailing and in her world it is great to learn about the creatures of myths and horror that have previously given us nightmares. For example, we learn about Mummy's main medical issues being TB of the lungs, damage to the wrappings and tendon damage. We learn Angels have gold blood and that this blood is toxic to the inhabitants of Hell.
I have very much enjoyed reading this series. They are good knockabout fun with great supporting characters, humorously written with an enjoyable premise. So thank you sis for recommending this one. Now let me find a nice, gentle crime series for you......