I'm reaching out to see if the community can help identify a book (or series of books) from my childhood in the 80s.

To the best of my recollection, the stories were about a family of vampires - but they may have been nonspecific "monsters."

I believe one among them was considered very handsome because he looked almost human (speculation: implying the others had varying levels of disfigurement from their vampirism/monster-ness)

Wracking my brain for further plot details, the only strand I can eke out is possibly that the family of vampires wanted to take over the world, but one among them had misgivings; that's bordering on mistaken memory, though, I'm running on empty for more plot detail.

I remember thinking for the longest time that it was one of Roald Dahl's works; the tone of the story and artwork felt very Dahl-esque, but his bibliography reveals the work I'm referencing is not his. The work was aimed at the 6 - 10 age group, not really up to YA. I'm also fairly sure this was a series of books, not just one. The artwork was sporadic, i.e. it wasn't a-picture-a-page type of story.

I read the book in English, which I'm almost sure was it original language of publication; very likely it was by an English author. I doubt the work was from before the 70s, and it would not have been from the 90s.

I've trawled the internet searching for various permutations and combinations of vampire/family/80s/children's book to no avail. I didn't think this work was that obscure, but it apparently is; I'm hoping someone out there might have ideas what this may be.


4 Answers 4


Oh! I think I know what this is! I could be wrong, but there's a book called The Reluctant Vampire, by Eric Morecambe, of all people (yes, of Morecambe and Wise).

It's about a family of vampires, of the most traditional Hammer Horror kind - zey all have ze accents to match.

King Victor is worried that his younger son, Valentine, may have contracted the dreaded vampire vapours. Valentine is, as his name suggests, very handsome and does look like a human. He scandalises them one day by saying he doesn't like drinking blood. Turns out there's a reason for that. Meanwhile, his brother Vernon has a secret lab and an evil plan.

It is all rather Roald Dahl, now you put it that way - you know, would be horrifying in places, if it wasn't so ridiculous - and the edition I read is illustrated by Tony Ross, whose style isn't that unlike Quentin Blake (who usually did Dahl's illustrations). Age group is what you said it should be.

There's a worried little minion called Igon (he has a glass eye) and a verevolf called Vilf, if that rings any bells.

I never realised it was a series, but when I looked it up on Goodreads.com for this answer, I see it is.

  • 1
    Yes! I think this is it!!! I've been reading up on this title since your answer, and I think this is it! Having read descriptions, more details are coming to mind: the vampires are a royal family, one of them doesn't like blood (which I misremembered as him having misgivings about taking over the world with the rest of his clan), and Igon's glass eye. Bravo for thinking up this title from my scant details, and unintended red herrings. After this question trailed off SF&F's front page, I assumed to give up hope on a answer coming through - thank you again for this find!
    – StoneThrow
    Jul 15, 2019 at 19:30
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    I seem to remember either liking the series so much that I wished there was another in the series (it seems there were two in total), or that the end of the last book dangled a sequel as a carrot - I could be mis-remembering again.
    – StoneThrow
    Jul 15, 2019 at 19:32
  • Hooray! Fancy coming across that again after all these years. I'm glad I could help.
    – A. B.
    Jul 23, 2019 at 13:20

I think that this may be a book by Angela Sommer-Bodenburg. Originally published in 1986 as My Friend The Vampire, it was apparently republished In 2005 under the title The Little Vampire, possibly to tie in with the movie made based on it. That was the first of a series so you might have read a later one possibly.

Blurb from Amazon as follows: Tony, a 9-year-old horror story addict is delighted when a little vampire called Rudolph lands on his windowsill one evening, and together, the two have a series of hilarious adventures involving visits to Rudolph’s home—The Vampire Family Vault—where Tony narrowly escapes the clutches of Great-Aunt Dorothy.

From my memory, it had a very Dahl feel to the writing, and the artwork (which was sporadic) was something of a cross between Dahl and Gorey. I haven’t read it in over thirty years, but I recall the two kids becoming friends, the vampire kid bringing the human kid home, and the human kid dressing as a vampire and having to hide from the aunt, who keeps wandering around saying how she can smell a human.

  • Thank you, this looked promising, but having researched this series after you posted your answer, it's not quite triggering enough memories for me to confirm either way. I'll see if I can't find a physical copy to investigate; the available researchable material online just isn't enough for me to be sure.
    – StoneThrow
    Feb 8, 2019 at 7:06

I think this might be the "Gruesome and Bloodsocks" series by Jane Holiday.

The titular Gruesome was a vampire who was estranged from her family due to her vegetarianism, especially her reluctance to drink human blood. This didn't stop them showing up in her life and generally being rather antagonistic. She lived in - I think London - and had friends among the twentysomething student types there, her best friend being a boy called "Leotard" (not a misspelling of Leonard.)

So, although it didn't go as far as them wanting to take over the world, they were certainly preying on humans (she may have persuaded them to switch to farmyard animals in later books) and she DEFINITELY had misgivings about their way of life.

The cover art and the story illustrations were in very different styles. I do recall the in-book artwork being a bit Dahl-esque, maybe with tidier lines though. Not so much the cover art.

"I believe one among them was considered very handsome because he looked almost human" - I don't remember this, but I do remember one of them, Five-Fanged Francis, had a different appearance due to his additional fangs, and the vampires might have considered this handsome.

Other items that fit - it was in English, the target age group was indeed about 6-10, (I'd say more like 8-11 though), the artwork was indeed sporadic. I don't have the publication dates for all of the books, but at least two of them were published in the 80s.

  • Took a look at what google brought up about this title, and unfortunately, I'm pretty certain this wasn't it. Much thanks all the same.
    – StoneThrow
    Feb 8, 2019 at 20:27

I know of a few different vampire books. One is a series called my sister the vampire. The other is called something like "a totally lame vampire"

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    Can you expand upon your answer? Also, it's best to post multiple answers as separate answers so that it's clear which is correct.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Feb 8, 2019 at 20:07
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    Please edit your answer to explain in more detail both what these books are (e.g. name of the author? link to a summary/description?) and how they match the story described in the question.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Feb 8, 2019 at 21:32
  • I checked out both your suggestions, but neither was what I read in my youth. But thank you, all the same, for the suggestions (I think the second one you're referring to might be "Notes from a Totally Lame Vampire").
    – StoneThrow
    Feb 11, 2019 at 21:20

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