Pure Dead Bizarre! Meet the Addams Family of Scotland
March 25, 2013
Do you remember the television show The Addams Family? Or, maybe you saw one of the movies? For those unfamiliar with the series, the show told the story of a most unusual family that included: a tremendously large butler, a decapitated hand called "Thing," and an extremely hairy cousin named "Itt." Not to mention the assorted animal occupants that ranged from an octopus to a man-eating plant. Well, if you enjoyed that wild family, there is another you might love just as much. Let me introduce you to the Strega-Borgia clan of Scotland.
The Pure Dead series, by Debi Gliori, follows the misadventures of the wealthy Strega-Borgia family and the eclectic residents of their castle, Strega-Schloss. Their household includes everything from a nanny, who is also a witch, to a cryogenically preserved great-great (add many more here) grandmother who gets thawed out for special occasions. There is also a wide range of beasts roaming the grounds. A tarantula obsessed with lipstick, a crocodile who insists he is a vegetarian, and a whiny teenaged dragon named Ffup are just a few that call the castle home.
In the third outing of the series, Pure Dead Brilliant, the family has learned that the recently deceased father of family patriarch Signor Luciano has left his entire fortune to the eldest Strega-Borgia child, thirteen-year-old Titus. Of course, there are many complications to this inheritance. Firstly, Luciano’s half-brother thinks that it should be his and is out for blood. Then, there is the pact that an ancient ancestor of Luciano’s made that promises the soul of every first born child to the devil, and his agent, Astoroth, has come to collect. Astoroth must also find a prized possession of his "Boss" that is hidden somewhere on the estate or risk being reincarnated into a most nasty state.
Then, there are all the other dramas going on in the castle that never has a dull moment. Signora Baci Strega-Borgia, the mom, has invited the rest of her witch-in-training class to the castle. At the same time, the magical nanny, Flora McLachlan, has discovered that the youngest child, two-year-old Damp, is a powerful sorceress herself. The problem is that Damp has absolutely no control over her powers and has a tendency to use her favorite fairytales as magical inspiration (including turning big sister, Pandora, into Thumbelina for a time).
Amidst all this commotion, there is also another complication that has arisen with the newest member of the family, the baby dragon Nestor. Teenage, single mother Ffup sometimes can’t be bothered with the child, which leaves others to have to care for him. There is also the problem of Nestor’s father whom Ffup refuses to acknowledge. But the family will end up meeting this huge monster, who happens to enjoy swimming in lochs, when he comes to try to make amends. Oh, and the Strega-Borgia’s themselves may soon be dealing with yet another enfant terrible.
The Pure Dead series is tremendous fun and a fantastic look at the unusual characters that can make up a family. The sheer number of members of this extended clan means that the adventures never cease. So, if you were a fan of The Addams family, head on up to Argyll and check in with this endlessly interesting group.