No two persons ever read the same book. --Edmund Wilson

Wednesday, May 01, 1996

Fenella Fang -- Ritchie Perry

It’s sad and lonely being a vampire. Fenella Fang enjoys an outwardly satisfactory undeath in a comfortable coffin somewhere in the Midlands. She makes frequent visits to her uncle, Samuel Suck, and has fun flirting with uncle’s henchman Igor (he of the beautifully luminescent warts and oddly-proportioned limbs). She has been voted Miss Vampire of the Year, and is still a stunning creature of the night. But something is missing. Now what can it be?

It is not until she wakes up one night to find Sara, a young girl who has run away from home after her puppy was taken away to be destroyed, that Fenella begins to realise that humans aren’t as bad as they’ve been painted. With Sara’s help Fenella can even get her toothache treated (and you can imagine how badly toothache affects a vampire, even one who relies on Human Blood Substitute rather than sinking her fangs into unwashed human necks). Fenella has fun discovering that dentists’ injections make vampires ‘completely squiffy’ (and somewhat amorous, if the illustrations are anything to go by), and Sara has earned herself a favour from her redoubtable new friend. Which just goes to show that if you help others, they’ll help you. Ain’t it sweet?

I am sorry to say that this book does not have an entirely happy ending; but it’s a jolly little tale with generous helpings of justice and revenge, moral dilemmas and love conquering all - the ingredients of any great work.