Of Song

Adam Stemple
It starts out like most detective stories: Bridie Stewart trying to find out who killed her grandmother. She's done time ... as a police professional; can take out the Marlon Brando types trying to take her out.

Inspector Hamilton there with the Edinburgh police thinks her brother Douglas did it. She says no: "He's a canker sore on the ass of society .... But there's no way he killed Grandma McLaren."

Douglas is rather weird. But not as weird as brother #2, Scott. He went bonkers after action in Iraq, seeing his best friend blown up, "going door-to-door in Iraq ... shackles, chains, blood-stained tables, and chairs bolted to the floor."

    And tools. Some perverted from their normal purpose, some made specifically for the job of ripping flesh, popping eyeballs, tearing out fingernails.

"There'd be piles of ears and toes and other parts."

But even he isn't as strange as the witches, trolls, fairies, monsters, gnomes and other odd characters who start turning up at Douglas' place, who appear and disappear through doors that appear and disappear, can change from man to bear to wolf to blackbird. It's enough to drive you daffy; or him even more so.

It's The Lord of the Rings, conjoined with Kat Guerrera --- for although Hamilton makes a play for Bridie (her name is the Gaelic word for "strong"), it appears that she prefers women. Or a woman who has put a spell on Douglas, now that he has become king in Faery, the "Lord of the Realm."

§     §     §

It's all good fun. Bridie is a kick, talks like a wise-ass, has all the lines, and should have gotten into a less cluttered movie. When the trolls move in, it gets noisy and --- when the bad ones appear --- smelly. Stemple can hold us, got me through to page 288 in less than a day.

I would prefer, however, to get my hard-boiled lesbian detectives without lectures on how we honkies violated the life and soul of the Indians: "Animal spirits roamed the woodlands unfettered, and if my people had to take one [god], they spoke the right prayers. But then you came, grasping and grating, with your guns and your steel."

    But you brought with you something more, something even I could not help with ... Plague. Disease. Sickness without end. My people were wiped out without even a chance of defending themselves.

I know I know, and I'm guilty as hell ... but stop harping and bring back sweet-but-tough Bridie, so in love with the evil Aine, the gorgeous witch who can portend her own death.

--- Pamela Wylie
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