Dead Man’s Close

Catherine MacPhail

Barrington Stoke


Feb 2006

‘You know what I think? I think it’s stories that keep the whole world together. From Lewis looking for monsters in Edinburgh, to Shahrazad telling stories about magic lamps in Arabia. Everyone loves a good story.’

A school trip around Edinburgh centre careers into a desperate chase through time for siblings Spider and Lizzie. Resolved to play a trick on his sister, Spider slips into a doorway planning to leap out on his unsuspecting sister. Separated from the group as a consequence of this, Lizzie worries the pair might have taken a wrong turn’
A welcome addition to Barrington Stoke’s ‘FYI: fiction with stacks of facts’ series, Catherine Macphail weaves a tight web of spills, thrills and plenty of chills seamlessly interspersing information, detail and local colour about the history of Edinburgh. Readers experience first-hand the sights, smells and sounds of the city as Lizzie and Spider aid Lewis in escaping the clutches of a broken-toothed felon and assist his endeavours to learn more about his mysterious neighbour’s nocturnal endeavours.
Appended to the adventure is a notebook, purportedly by Spider’s hand. Catherine MacPhail’s passion, understanding and lively delivery of details together with the personalised, over-arching epistolary form in which they are written makes for a reading adventure and story-arc that is in equal parts profound and impressive.

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