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Book Reviews: Vampire Detectives, part 3 +My Name Is Mary Sutherland+ These Our Actors

Vampire Detectives edited by Martin H. Greenberg, part 3

You'll Catch Your Death

I've no idea what this was about.

Shell Game

It's not unreasonable to ask how this got published.

The Secret

A stupid tale of unspeakable cruelty and frighteningly thoughtless people.

Blind Pig On North Halsted

Wretched sexual politics in this wretched dreck.

Phil The Vampire

Sexist muck.


I failed to admire this.

My Name Is Mary Sutherland by Kate Farrell

This good novella sees a newsteam visit an unspecified institution to speak to teenager Mary Sutherland who has been there for 3 years. Mary tells of a contented life, ruined when her mother died and her father with indecent haste married his calculating mistress. Mary was marginalized, neglected and abused by her useless father and evil stepmother.

When her half-sister Rosie was born, things became immeasurably worse. As Mary relates the prefiguring events that lead to her institutionalisation and abandonment by her family, it becomes clear that her self-pitying narrative is self-serving. She plays the victim, heaps judgemental distain on her hated stepmother, picks and chooses the narrative she tells, avoids all culpability and reveals how she had previous furious reactions to being taken out of her emotional rut.

Was Mary's father really not to be relied upon to fulfil his paternal commitments? Did nobody ever notice that Mary is probably autistic? Did the mother of who Mary speaks so fondly never notice her only child's furtive violence? Was Rosie really smothered in attention to Mary's detriment? Was Mary's stepmother really someone who exploded over the most trivial issues? Did Mary's father have such capitulation to his new wife? Was there an emotional preference for his new family? Was Mary really subject to oppression and made to feel like the problem by everyone? Was she really treated so badly by teachers, schoolmates and family?

After reading this, one can have no valid objection to the stepmother's alleged scathing assessment of Mary. The self-pitying Mary has totally discredited herself through the uncontested details of her own words. Mary says she has no remorse. Just how often has the morally compromised Mary lashed out and gone absolutely beserk? The final reveal of what Mary did and how she's shrugged off the exceptionally serious negative impact and her absolute lack of responsibilty has the gravest implications. This is an unsettling read. The change in Mary's appearence and the undelivered letters to her father raise even more moral quesitons.

Best Lines:

“Everybody laughed. Not in a nice way neither.”

“They all looked dead mental.”

“She was good at leaving rooms after I'd upset her, and Dad was good at following her.”

“The receptionist that you'd married.”

“He fished out a couple of tenners from his wallet, at which point his wife came in. She must have smelt the money.”


Bad Buffy The Vampire Slayer novel

These Our Actors.

Tags: 2nd hand book store find, book review, buffy the vampire slayer

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