Friday, May 16, 2008

Verse of the Vampyre by Diana Killian


Verse of the Vampyre: A Poetic Death Mystery by Diana Killian is the second in the Poetic Death Mystery series. What can I say about this book, other than I love it; I love the author and I love the series. Brilliant descriptions, excellent pacing, and believable characters. This author doesn't waste one syllable. Everything written has a purpose. Killian is extremely reminiscent of Mary Stewart (my favorite author of all time).

Verse of the Vampyre picks up a year after High Rhymes and Misdemeanors. Grace Hollister is on sabbatical from teaching, working at Peter Fox's establishment to supplement her income while she writes a book on her favorite poet, Lord Byron. Peter Fox is an ex-jewel thief turned antiques dealer who's past is not too far behind him. It's in the heart of fall and hunting season when the story takes place when the newcomers, Ruthvens, decide to waltz in and do a play on Polidori's The Vampyre. Grace is brought in as a consultant due to her academic ties, but she later feels there might be something more involved. Also, there's a rash of burglaries of the well-to-do. Throw in a few bodies for an excellent mystery. The ending is filled with so many twists and turns, it provides for a thrilling ride in the English and Scottish countryside.

What makes this story so delicious is the right blend of characters, Grace's romance with Peter, her love of Byron, the backdrop, and the detail which Killian throws in about Byron and company. Just excellent. The only difficulty I had was reading the book because it seemed no one wanted me to read it, but I persevered to the very last word and I look forward to the next in the series, Sonnet of the Sphinx.

8 comments:

Amanda said...

Mary Stewart? Like Crystal Cave Mary Stewart? I read The Crystal Cave back in early high school, required reading for English, and I loved it (particularly after reading what was, in my opinion, a very dreadful The Once and Future King). I rarely like fantasy books, but I liked that one.

Jason Gignac said...

How peculiar. The Poetic Death Mystery Series?

Byron, well, if you're going to talk about murder, he's a good choice... ;)

What was the poet that the first one was centered on?

Christina said...

Grace alludes to Byron being the "bad boy" of the group many times. I think it's one of the reasons the character is drawn to him.

The first one also focused on Byron, they thought they were looking for a manuscript, but it turned out to be something like cameos. I believe the third one will also focus on Byron's manuscript.

Jason Gignac said...

Well, I dunno about 'the' bad boy - he ran with a pretty rough crowd altogether. Percy Bryce Shelley was no slouch in terms of hellraising, and Mary Shelley had one of her books kept from publishing until just a few years ago by the censors...

Amanda said...

Really? What book was that? I didn't know Miss Mary had a new book out. Feels weird to say 'new' considering how long she's been dead...

Jason Gignac said...

Apparently, 1959, actually, my mistake. The title is 'Mathilda,' and it's about incest and suicide. My favorite Wikipedia quote:
The act of writing this short novel distracted Mary Shelley from her grief after the deaths of her one-year-old daughter Clara at Venice in September 1818 and her three-year-old son William in June 1819 in Rome.[3] These losses plunged Mary Shelley into a depression that distanced her emotionally and sexually from Percy Shelley and left her, as he put it, "on the hearth of pale despair"

You know, cause, nothing like writing about suicide and incest helps you deal with your dead child, and... stuff... Weird...

Amanda said...

well, setting aside the suicide/incest thing, I've never read Percy Shelley, but "on the hearth of pale despair" is gorgeous.

Booger said...

"Hail to thee, blithe Spirit
Bird thou never wert,.., "

That's from Percy Bysshe Shelley's To The Skylark. I found it in the paperback version of Palgrave's Golden Treasury that I used to read on the bus. Hmm, what edition is this. Oh my, Second Printing, Centennial Edition, February, 1962. It was new when I bought it.