Another Review at MyShelf.Com

George Mann

Titan Books
12 September 2017 / ISBN 9781783294091
Contemporary British Mystery

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde


Elspeth’s childhood home backs onto the mysterious Wychwood, an ancient area of woodland in the Oxfordshire village of Wilsby-under-Wychwood. Following the break-up with her partner and the loss of her job in London she comes home to her mother to work things out, and walks straight into a murder. A young woman has been found dead just outside her house, and the body has been arranged to mirror that of an old legend. The story of the Carrion King, a local magician who held court here back in the 9th century has been enjoying a revival thanks to a play, but now it looks as though somebody is taking it further. Journalist Elspeth is keen to investigate for herself.

The sub-genre of modern mysteries having roots in the past has become popular of late, and if you are a fan of Kate Ellis, Elly Griffiths and Sarah Rayne this new novel ought to appeal. It has all the ingredients that make such a story entertaining – a setting steeped in its past, a spooky legend, weird murders and a pair of engaging sleuths. Elspeth freelances for a local paper and meets up with childhood friend Peter who has become a policeman; together the pair help solve the case. I am not sure how much the police would relish having an amateur along and Elspeth manages to see just about all the bodies (quite a pile of these) but it does make for a lively tale. I do hope that this is going to be the first in a series as it holds its head up with the other novels of this type and ticks all the relevant boxes. Highly readable with a wonderful “legend” that would make for a good book in itself; don’t miss this treat.

UK Reviewer: Rachel Hyde's work can be found in The Bead Magazine, Making Jewellery and Check out her blog with ideas on how to be green and have some crafty fun at

Reviewed 2017