Tag Archives: garyview

GaryView: The Blood Countess by Tara Moss

Gary and LissaLissa: Given your usual misgivings about how vampire books are nothing like actual vampires, what’s the verdict

Gary: It was okay.

Lissa: I really liked Pandora English. She’s smart, capable, funny and I liked that she wanted to be an investigative journalist, not just write fluff pieces about fashion. Her Aunt Celia was a good character, and I liked her friendly Civil War ghost. Luke was a sweetie.

Gary: The ghost was okay.

Lissa: It was pretty funny in parts, and the mystery was good. It’s that Hitchcockian theory of suspense, when you know more that the protagonist.

Gary: I suppose that was okay.

Lissa: The writing style flowed really nicely too. It was fun and easy to read, which I like sometimes.

Gary: It was a fast read, yes.

Lissa: …You didn’t really like it, did you?

Gary: It was fine, for a light read. I did like the writing style, really. It’s very cinematic. It’s easy to see how it would look as a film.

Lissa: What didn’t you like about it?

Gary: I didn’t not like it. It just… had a lot in it about clothes. And shoes. What’s a Mary Jane shoe anyway?

Lissa: Sort of like what I’m wearing now, but with a chunkier heel.

Gary: And that’s what Pandora was excited about?

Lissa: Mary Janes are comfortable but still pretty.

Gary: …oooookay.

Lissa: Actually, the scenes with the vintage fashion dress-ups were some of my favourites! It would be nice to have an exotic former designer of a great-aunt giving me tips and nice shoes to make my way in New York.

Gary: You would?

Lissa: Yeah. That Chanel outfit sounded nice. The black pants suit.

Gary: I didn’t think you were very interested in clothes.

Lissa: I’m not obsessive about them…

Gary: Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Lissa: What do you mean?

Gary: I mean that I didn’t think you were into shoes and stuff that much.

Lissa: Why?

Gary: Well…

Lissa: Just because I don’t go on and on about fashion, it doesn’t mean I don’t like nice things.  I like nice clothes. I have my own style.

Gary: (nods vigorously, like he’s understood) Yes. Your librarian style.

Lisa: What’s that supposed to mean?

Gary: (uncertain) Ah….

Lissa: Sartorial criticism coming from a man who wears the Hawaiian shirts his mother bought for him in a job lot at a fire sale in the early 80s isn’t really my idea of expert comment.

Gary: I’ve said something wrong and I don’t know what it is.

Lissa: What does ‘librarian style’ even mean?

Gary: I just meant… you’re a librarian and… that’s how… you dress…? Should I have said Lissa style? You dress like you. Is that… how is that a bad thing?

Lissa: It’s…ah… not.

Gary: Would it help if I said sorry?

Lissa: You don’t know what you’re apologising for, do you?

Gary: … no…

Lissa: (sighs) Don’t worry. It’s nothing. It’s just… someone at work yesterday said I dressed like a hippy.

Gary: I knew hippies at uni in the 1960s. You don’t dress like them. Anyway, I like what you wear. I like the colours.

Lissa: You don’t think it’s too… old fashioned?

Gary: I think you look nice.

Lissa: Oh. Well. Thank you.

Gary: You’re welcome. (pause) What’s wrong with my Hawaiian shirts?

*For newcomers, the GaryView is a review of books/films/TV/entertainment carried out as a conversation between Lissa Wilson (librarian) and Gary Hooper (vampire) , characters from my book ‘The Opposite of Life’. Visit my website for more information.

GaryView: Death and the Spanish Lady by Carolyn Morwood

Gary and LissaLissa: That was a bit of a history lesson. I remember reading about a flu epidemic after the First World War, but I had no idea that it was so bad, or that it shut Melbourne down like that.

Gary: Yeah. I think one of my dad’s uncles died of the flu around when this book is set.

Lissa: This book really brings it home, doesn’t it? The historical setting really works, and I liked Eleanor as well. She’s working through all this grief, but she really wants justice, whether or not the dead guy deserves it.  I like it that the truth was more important to her than staying comfortably out of it.

Gary: You don’t think she should have left the murder for someone else to investigate?

Lissa: I think I have amply demonstrated that keeping out of things isn’t always an option.

Gary: I guess you have. I liked Sister Jones too, though that might be because she reminded me of my mum. Mum was a nurse too.

Lissa: A nurse detective?

Gary: Not that I know of, but I wouldn’t have put it past her. My mum was pretty cool in a crisis. That’s how she met Dad, actually. During the war, she was stationed in Greece. Dad had been wounded and she looked after him on the ship during the evacuation from Crete. They kept writing after he was shipped home, and when she got back to Australia they got married.

Lissa: That must have been hard for him, waiting for her.

Gary: They never talked about it much. Not to me, anyway. Dad had got shot in the leg, though, and they wouldn’t let him stay in the army. He went home and did his teaching degree instead, so he’d have a steady job for when Mum got back.

Lissa: Every time you tell me about your folks I think how awesome they were.

Gary: This book made me think of both of them. They both went through a lot. For years as a kid, whenever I saw someone my dad’s age, or my grandad’s, I wondered whether they had bullet scars too. My mum kept on nursing, too. She used to say the only thing worse than the old air raids was working on the children’s wards.

Lissa: I bet.

Gary: Yeah.

Lissa:. So. Death and the Spanish Lady. Did you work out the killer before the end?

Gary: No. I never do, though. Not even when I was alive. I used to try making notes as I read to see if I could work it out, but I never could. Mum said it was because I wasn’t devious enough.

Lissa: I guess crime stories aren’t really like maths equations. Otherwise all crimes would get solved by the scientists.

Gary: All crimes are solved by the scientists on some TV shows.

Lissa: I like this kind of murder mystery better. And it’s not as gritty and realistic as all those Underbelly-type stories, so I like that better too. I have enough gritty realism in my life. But this has a different kind of realism. That sometimes you succeed in something but it’s not necessarily a triumph.

Gary: I know all about that, too.

Lissa: You and me both. Hey, how about we cheer ourselves up with a musical. <grins at the look on his face> Or a werewolf movie.

Gary: Can I vote for a werewolf movie?

Lissa: Only if it’s the original Teen Wolf.

Gary: Teen Wolf it is.

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You can get Death and the Spanish Lady in paperback from Readings, or as an ebook from Booki.sh or Amazon.com.