A Matter of Taste

by Fred Saberhagen
Release date: 1990
Type: speculative fiction
Genres: fantasy, horror

Cover art by Jim Thiesen.

In Chicago, in our day, he is known as Matthew Maule – but that is merely the latest of a long string of names he has carried. John Southerland, like the rest of the Southerland family, calls him Uncle Matthew. After all he's an Old Friend of the Family.

Meeting "Uncle Matthew" Angelia Roban is a little overwhelmed. Her fiance's descriptions haven't prepared her for this handsome, vigorous, charming man who appears no older than forty. She's bemused when he eats nothing during their "get acquainted" dinner, though John has told her that Uncle Matthew often follows one fad diet or another, and further bemused by his flirtation with a redheaded waitress, who later joins the family in Uncle Matthew's apartment.

The next morning, the redhead has fled, a pair of bloody sores on her neck. John and Angie find Matthew lying in bed, apparently comatose, but John won't call a doctor. He summons, instead, his brother-in-law, Joe Keogh, an ex-cop.

Angie begins to learn the truth about the Southerland family's Old Friend when Joe arrives, armed with lead-cored wooden bullets. He's dealt with Matthew's enemies before. Maule is over five hundred years old...

And once he was known as Count Dracula.

(updated 2010-09-07)

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