The Bone Magician
Tales from the Sinister City
by FE Higgins (Author)
The Bone Magician, billed as a ‘paraquel’ to Higgins’s first novel, The Black Book of Secrets, is a murder mystery set in the grotty and very smelly city of Urbs Umida. Its hero, a boy named Pin, has recently been employed as a corpse watcher in an undertakers. A down-to-earth and sensitive character, all Pin wants to do is survive in the city and find out where his father has gone, but events take place to draw him into dangerous, complicated and unpleasant territory.
The elaborate and well-constructed plot takes in a shadowy serial killer, a ‘gluttonous beast’, an exploding corpse, a girl with an addiction to herbal concoctions, body snatching, a vitriolic and misanthropic journalist, and, of course, corpse reanimation. The novel is written in a sophisticated and elaborate style which does full justice to the grotesque, occasionally stomach-churning scenes and smells described. Although the language might pose a challenge to younger or less keen readers, the sense of gruesome fun it carries provides the encouragement to keep reading.
Recommended reading for grown-up fans of Tim Burton, Sherlock Holmes and Charles Dickens, as well as for boys and girls age 10 and up.