In the conclusion to Shaw’s Greta Helsing trilogy (Dreadful Company, 2018, etc.), Greta must puzzle out the cause of a strange illness running rampant throughout the mummy community.
Mummy specialist Dr. Greta Helsing is thrilled to be asked to temporarily take the reins at Oasis Natrun, Marseille’s private and exclusive mummy spa and resort, and jumps at the chance to escape rainy London for sunny France. Greta is dazzled by the beauty of the hillside resort, not to mention its state-of-the-art medical equipment and uber competent nursing staff (including a mummy who used to be an Egyptian priest). Greta barely settles in before one of her patients suffers a mysterious fainting spell that drains his energy. The episodes are spreading, and the only thing that might be able to help is an ancient and rare Egyptian artifact ensconced very securely in the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Meanwhile, during a trip to Italy with Grisaille, his new boyfriend and a master thief, the fashionable vampire Edmund Ruthven, Greta’s old friend, experiences a vicious bout of sickness and is whisked off to Oasis Natrun for treatment tout de suite, and Greta’s boyfriend, vampire Sir Frances Varney, joins her at the resort for moral support. Then there are those slightly creepy angelic creatures/fashion models that seem to be up to no good on the earthly plane. Greta has a lot on her plate, but her calm, take-charge attitude and compassionate bedside manner are a balm for her patients, and passages detailing her clever treatment practices add weight to her strange profession. Shaw’s characters, both human and supernatural (ghouls, witches, screaming skulls, oh my!), are genuinely fascinating, and her prose is just as droll and witty as ever, but it’s Greta, with her big heart and determination to do the right thing, that makes this series sparkle. Readers will be happy to be pulled along in Greta’s bustling wake—which includes an enlightening trip to hell—for as long as it takes to solve the mummy conundrum and finally spend some quality alone time with Varney.
A satisfying wrap-up to a delightfully gothic contemporary urban fantasy series.