Review Blog

Apr 17 2012

Twelve minutes to midnight by Christopher Edge

cover image

Noisy Crow, 2012. ISBN 0 85763 050 6.
(Ages: 11+) Recommended. Horror. When Penny Tredwell hires the actor, Montgomery Maples to tell the stories of her creation, Montgomery Flinch at a public meeting, she embroils them all in something which at first is beyond comprehension. A letter form the director of the Bethlehem Hospital, or Bedlam, as it came to be known, draws Penny and Monty to its doors, to listen to an incredible story, one which the doctor hopes the great Montgomery Flinch can solve. But he does not know that the storyteller Flinch is in reality Penny, and it is she who writes the stories for The Penny Dreadful, a magazine taking its readers by the throat with its stories beyond imagination.
So begins an incredible journey in which Penny gets to meet the Spider Lady of Kensington, and bitten by one of her spiders, then poisoned with spider venom sourced from Africa, Penny is taken back to Bedlam, there to have the dreams which are driving many of its unmates to insanity, far worse than the illness they first were incarcerated for, and in some cases, death. And like the others, she scribbles down predictions about the future, a future the Spider Lady wants to know about.
A thrilling adventure story, with references to Sherlock Holmes, this is the first in a series which will entertain and delight its readers. The setting is fabulously displayed, London in 1899 clearly brought to life as Penny and her friend, Alfie, try to uncover the Spider lady's secrets. before the turn of the next millenium.
Fran Knight

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