Jon Mayhew

Bloomsbury (2010)

ISBN: 978-1-4088-0392-9

Reviewed by Mitenae

Josie is an orphan performing in a stage act with her uncle and guardian The Great Cardamom. Alfie is an assistant to Wiggins, an undertaker, when his life unexpectedly intersects with Josie after three aunts arrive and take over her house. They put her uncle under a spell and demand to know where the Amarant is hidden. But Josie’s never heard of it and doesn’t know how to accomplish her uncle’s dying wish to find the Amarant and destroy it. But with Alfie and Gimlet’s help, she might just be able to before the Aunts destroy her.

Mortlock is a glorious book with just the right touch of darkness to scare young readers without terrifying them. It’s the sort of story I would have loved to read when I just beginning to get into horror stories.

Although I liked Josie and Alfie, I did feel their familial relationship could have played out and been used in the story more than it was.

John Mayhew is a skilled storyteller who successfully weaves echoes of Paradise Lost with a mid-nineteenth century London bringing it vividly to life.

This is a book I’d recommend to young readers who are just beginning to discover, or who’ve already discovered, the delights of horror stories.