A highly original British vampire tale more erotic than vampiric, by the editor of Border Lines: Stories of Exile & Return (1993, not reviewed). A multimedia dramatist, Pullinger also joined Jane Campion on the novelization of The Piano. London-based travel writer Stephen obsesses about travel-agency expert Mina, who enjoys Stephen's sex and company but is given to late-night disappearances and really wants to do her own thing--whatever that might be. That thing is never defined--we're never told outright that Mina, despite certain outrâ€š qualities, is...one of those. Meanwhile, we know that Mina's the bastard child of Lucy Savage and Harry Summers, themselves bastards. Harry was much like Mina, always lived apart and kept to himself, never told Lucy he loved her. His own mother, Hilda Summers, was also a bastard. All this bastardy points to the strange household habits of...of...people who cannot marry in church. In fact the night before she was to be buried, Hilda departed her coffin in the funeral home and never returned, thus escaping certain--one might say unhealthy--burial rites. Harry had the empty coffin buried anyway, never wondering deeply what happened to his mother. And so it goes. Stephen now tries to break off with Mina time and again, goes alone to countries he writes about only to return and take up the old routine. On their one long trip to Spain together, Mina finds herself really liking Stephen, so back in London they shack up. But Stephen grows fat on Mina's take-out dinners and, when he is finally hospitalized, discovers that he's almost bloodless. You can't blame Mina, though. She's never awake when...hmmm, whatever it is...happens. Lots of sex, and why not, in a precisely told charmer that asks, Where does kissing end and the Bloody Mary begin?