Review Blog

Mar 22 2012

The Grimstones: Mortimer Revealed by Asphyxia

cover image

Allen and Unwin, 2012. ISBN: 9781742376899.
Martha Grimstone is determined to find out more about her father Mortimer whose death, when she was a baby, dominates the household and causes her mother Velvetta to spend much of her time in the crypt weeping over him.
This is the second of the secret diaries of Martha Grimstone who lives in a broken down gothic ancestral home with her Grandfather, who mixes potions to heal the local villagers and creates spells to calm the weather in the valley, Aunt Gertrude who runs the household and oversees Martha's lessons, Mother, Velvetta, who spends all her time making fine garments for the locals when not in the crypt and baby brother Crumpet who is a magical child and the subject of the first diary.
Martha and Crumpet create a potion in Grandfather's apothecary and use the doll house on the landing, which is a replica of the Grimstone house, to recreate the events of the night Mortimer died. Subsequently Martha develops a greater understanding of her family and why her grandfather has refused her pleas to learn magic. It also results in her discovering her special talent and how it contributes to the wellbeing of the valley.
This is not a normal family but Martha's need for love and understanding is universal. The picture illustrations from The Grimstones Puppet Show add to the gothic feel of the story and the references at the end direct the curious to Youtube to see them perform.
Many who read this story will find a kindred spirit in Martha, as they also strive to have their own adventures and find their own talents.
Sue Keane

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