Have you ever craved a book with a murder mystery and the undead that doesn’t involve the embarrassment of Edward Cullen or the dramatics of Count Dracula? Well, My Swordhand is Singing by Marcus Sedgwick is just that. Thankfully it is a tale told as a thriller rather than a love story, with vampire traits that have historical foundation and believability.
Sedgwick’s novel is inspired by Eastern European folklore and incorporates these details faultlessly throughout the book. With inspiration from vampire folklore, there is an increased sense of truth as these were tales that real people believed, rather than ideas that are exaggerated to the point of comedic disappointment.
This story follows a boy named Peter, in the 17th century, who works as a woodcutter with his father, living in the forest. In the harshness and chill of winter, things begin to take a darkening turn as the dead rise, villagers disappear and Peter’s father Tomas continues to surround himself with secrets. As impossibilities become possible and secrets reveal themselves the question of true good and evil is asked: can good really conquer evil?
A tale that draws you in and chills your heart as you sit on the edge of suspense, is a tale worth losing yourself in. My Swordhand is Singing is a spectacular thriller and a definite must-read for those wanting more than underdeveloped vampire plots.
An Agatha Christie-esque story of murder, mystery and family suspicions showing that the gossip of one could influence the fate of others in an instant. This book is filled with police investigations and arising allegations towards ‘loved’ ones as the traits of selfishness and self-service take control.
Although this book has a Christmassy setting it should not be confined to that time of year. A murderous Santa? A scheming relative? Or a jealous acquaintance? The murderer remains unclear throughout the investigation until the very end keeping you guessing and on your guard with every character. Even in the moments when you believe you almost know who it could be, the author remains you of your own nagging doubt.
Encounter the Melbury family as they come together, at Flaxmere, around Christmas time and reluctantly indulgence their father’s extravagant ‘Santa Klaus’, who will bring Christmas cheer to a cheerless household. Each relative is only present to further their favour with Sir Osmond or to please him at least. But when Sir Osmond is shot, alone in his study, the house is thrown into chaos as family turns on family and innocence seems irrelevant. With so many people in the house, each with a plausible motive but also a valid alibi, it proves difficult to find the criminal among the masses.
The Santa Klaus Murder is the perfect book for you if you are looking to read something captivating but not too long, and ready to question the morals of the characters and yourself. It is true: no one can be trusted, not friends, not spouses, not even siblings, when their futures are on the line.
Check out my previous book review about The Winter Ghosts here!
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