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Mystery Books - Vivian Shaw - Strange Practice

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Strange Practice
Vivian Shaw
Orbit 2017
400 pages


Following in her father's footsteps, Dr. Greta Helsing is a London physician who takes care of things that go bump in the night:  vampires, ghouls, mummies, and other supernatural beings.  Her friends, patients, and acquaintances include Sir Frances Varney: vampyre, Ruthven: vampire, August Crasnwell from the British Museum, and the fascinating ageless Fastitocalon, friend of her father.

Greta goes to consult at Ruthven's mansion, where Sir Francis appeared after having been viciously attacked, apparently by monks whose desire is to rid the world of unclean creatures.  His unusually-shaped wound is not healing well.

In the meantime, the atmosphere of the city is one of fear.  Dubbed as the Rosary Ripper murders, gruesome murder victims, mostly prostitutes, are discovered around town, left with rosaries in their mouths.

It appears that the cases are connected and everyone is at risk.

Greta does her best to protect her charges.  The others strive to find the source of the attacks.

The dust jacket of Strange Practice suggests that there would be more doctoring of the undead, although we do learn some interesting “facts” about supernatural physiology and behaviour.

The book focused more on the investigation of the monks and the disruption of their leader's evil plan, and the development of the characters and their relationships.  The four are an interesting bunch which would appeal to fans of the supernatural genre. 

Strange Practice has a light feel to it.  I was intrigued by the premise, and particularly enjoyed the beginning, and later developments.  My interest waxed and waned, but this type of supernatural is not my usual genre, so take that with a grain of salt.

J Curran

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