Book review

Midwinter Lucie by Alan Porter (2008)

So how do you think you'd feel if you stumbled unexpectedly on what looks like your own grave?

Partly obscured by moss and lichen and softened by the gloom, he saw the most familiar words in his life:

Don't tell me you wouldn't be interested, especially when you see the same birthday too, exactly one hundred years earlier. And don't tell me you wouldn't look to see what date you died:

Frantic now, he scratched at the stone, tearing at history, desperate to see what came next. Please, a long life, please.
'DIED,' it said, '24 OCT 1908, AGED 13 YEARS.'

Well that's pretty grim for Martin Lewis who plans to turn 13 himself in a week's time, on October 24th.

Wouldn't be too surprising if it were all just coincidence. After all, Martin's family has lived in the village of Midwinter Lucie for generations. But in the watches of a sleepless night Martin decides at the very least to see if he can find out exactly how his unfortunate predecessor met his end.

He finds out more than he really wants to know. It happened in 1908. And it happened in 1708. Furthermore, both boys died in the bell tower of St Thomas the Apostle Church in Midwinter Lucie.

So what's the next thing you're going to do in this situation? Probably not what Martin Lewis does. Even his friend Ruth thinks he's pushing his luck:

'Let me get this right,' Ruth said. 'You think there's something really dangerous in the tower, and it's trying to kill you. So to find out what, you want to go up there? And that's sensible, why?'

Actually, what happened up that tower is one of the scariest passages I've ever read in a book. I don't believe in ghosts and I know it's only a story, but...

A real frightener this one. Don't read it unless you're feeling brave.

What can I read next?

Like a good ghost story? Have a look at this one by Tim Bowler:

Or this one by Sally Prue, which explores how we can all feel in the grip of something bigger and more powerful than we are:

And not exactly a ghost story, but powerful superstitions at work in this brilliant one by Jan Mark. Highly recommended:

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