Friday 13 November 2009

Review - BLOODY WOMEN - Helen FitzGerald

BLOODY WOMEN - Helen FitzGerald
Publisher: Polygon
Published: October 2009

First Lines: "I just need you to say if this is him," the man in the white coat said, lifting the sheet that covered the lump beneath.

I looked down at the metal bench.

"Take your time," the man said, which I was already doing. I looked long and hard, holding back the tears, moving my head left to right, closer, further away, and then said, "Yes, that's Ahmed."

When Catriona Marsden is called in to identify an ex-boyfriend's severed penis, her reaction is to giggle. Needless to say, that does not look good, and she's promptly arrested for the murder of not one, but three ex-boyfriends. As she puts it "I was no longer viewed as the bereaved ex-lover of three men, but was accused of shagging, mutilating and murdering them, not necessarily in that order." And that takes us to the top of page two of this very dark, very funny book.

Cat is getting married and, like most brides, she has the pre-wedding jitters. However, unlike most brides, she decides that the way to put those jitters to bed is to meet up with each of her ex-boyfriends, and sleep with them. So now she's in jail, and the woman who is writing her biography has...well...she's put her own particular spin on things. And that looks as though it could send Cat over the edge.

BLOODY WOMEN is delicious, ingenious, inventive and mordantly funny. Helen FitzGerald has a real skill for making the totally absurd and goofy, thoroughly logical and reasonable. She serves up plot twists and severed penises (penii?) alike with the same relish and glee as Bette Davis serving Joan Crawford a rat on a silver salver in Whatever Happened To Baby Jane.

This is a book where at any given moment you think you know what's happening, but do you really? Helen FitzGerald amuses, entertains, enthralls and shocks in equal measure. She manages to make the reader care about characters who are, on the surface, pretty unlikeable. Excellent stuff. Warped, funny, and very well told.

Having now read a couple of her books, Helen Fitzgerald has firmly claimed a place on my list of favourite authors.


  1. So this isn't a book for male readers, then?

  2. I read her debut recently, and she seems to be in great shape! Thank you for a very tempting review.

  3. LOL Bookwitch. They might have to cross their legs.

    Dorte - if you enjoyed her first, you'll definitely love this one.