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Monday 30 April 2018

‘Strange Fascination’ by Syd Moore

Published by Point Blank,
3 May 2018.
ISBN: 978-1-78607-257-3 (PB)

The locals in the small Essex village of Adder's Oak are enjoying the free-flowing Prosecco at the launch of the new website and recently updated wing of the Essex Witch Museum. In the midst of the celebrations, word reaches them of a disaster taking place outside the local pub. Developers have moved in and are trying to remove the Blackly Be, a huge stone thought to mark the grave of a local witch Black Anne. In the 1600's she was said to have been burnt to death and the stone was placed on top of her remains to stop her from escaping! The last time someone tried to move the stone mysterious and unsettling things started to happen in the village. En mass the locals rush to the stone to prevent its removal. They are fearful of what will happen this time and it's not long before their fears are realised.

When bones are dug up by the developers digging has to stop, much to everyone's relief. However, there are two skeletons, whose can they be, and why had they been decapitated? Rosie the owner of the museum and Sam the curator set about finding out who they were, one is probably Black Anne, but what about the other - a male?

Added to the mystery is the fact that Rosie is trying to trace what became of her grandmother, Ethel-Rose, also said to be mixed up in witchcraft. She was a popular medium and went missing after one of her seances in 1953. Rosie wonders what the local lord of the manor, Edward De Vere and his weird daughter know about her disappearance, she is sure they are hiding something.

When another headless body is found people really start to panic and the police enlist the help of Rosie and Sam to get to the bottom of the happenings, landing Rosie in great danger. Will she survive?

I enjoyed this book very much. Rosie is quite a character and has a great sense of humour, she needs it! I loved some of her expressions, probably because I was born and bred in Essex and it took me back.

Although there is an air of menace and mystery running through the book, there are still amusing moments and it makes for a thoroughly good read.

Added to the interest is the fact that Black Anne and some of the other characters did actually exist. It is worth reading the Author's Notes at the back of the book. Very much recommended.
Reviewer: Tricia Chappell

Syd Moore lives in Essex, where the Rosie Strange novels are set. Before embarking on a career in education, Syd worked extensively in the publishing industry, fronting Channel 4’s book programme, Pulp. She was the founding editor of Level 4, an arts and culture magazine, and is co-creator of Super Strumps, the game that reclaims female stereotypes. Syd has also been a go go dancer, backing singer, subbuteo maker, children’s entertainer and performance poet, She now works for Metal Culture, an arts organisation, promoting arts and cultural events and developing literature programmes. Syd is an out and proud Essex Girl and is lucky enough to live in that county where she spends her free time excavating old myths and listening out for things that go bump in the night.

Tricia Chappell. I have a great love of books and reading, especially crime and thrillers. I play the occasional game of golf (when I am not reading). My great love is cruising especially to far flung places, when there are long days at sea for plenty more reading! I am really enjoying reviewing books and have found lots of great new authors.

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