Popular author Simon Kirby-Jones gets more than he bargained for when he moves to the quaint British village of Snupperton Mumsley . . . and so does the village, even though as a gay vampire, Simon might seem to fit right into Snupperton Mumsley, which brims with scandal, gossip-mongering, back-stabbing, and—fortunately for Simon—dishy men. He divides his drooling between tweedy vicar Neville Butler-Melville, rugged bookstore owner Trevor Chase, and Byronic aristocrat Giles Blitherington. All reciprocate to varying degrees. Another stroke of luck is meeting fellow vampire Jane Hamilton, who becomes Simon’s confidante and, later, Watson to his Holmes. All five belong to the Snupperton Mumsley Amateur Dramatic Society (SMADS), whose meetings inevitably devolve into showdowns between Giles’s mother Lady Prunella Blitherington, the village Lady Bracknell, and horse-faced Abigail Winterton, the local postmistress whose job gives her access to everybody’s dirty little secrets. Other SMADS members include crusty Colonel Clitheroe, Trevor’s colorless wife Letty, and randy Samantha Stevens. When Lady Prunella proposes the staging of a new play by Giles as a fundraiser, Abigail trumps her with the promise of an explosive new drama, written by a local and sure to shock everyone in the village. The next day, Abigail is found strangled. Simon can’t resist solving the crime.
Oddly, Simon’s vampirism figures not at all and his gayness very little in the one-dimensional plot. The character names in James’s first novel, written with clunky good cheer, give an accurate indication of its comic sensibility. This is not no much a spoof as a poor imitation.