|Quercus Publishing Childrens|
the guardian Fri 17 July 2009
Since the murder of his eight-year-old son, travel writer George Gates has lost his wanderlust and now pens trivial colour pieces for the local paper. But a chance conversation with a retired detective alerts him to a story which comes to obsess him - that of Katherine Carr, who vanished years before, leaving a collection of unpublished stories which seem to foretell her murder at the hands of a syndicate of the world's most notorious serial killers. (They're pretty awful, these stories - the reader's heart sinks at the tell-tale change of typeface.) To help him interpret them, Gates turns to Alice Barrows, a preternaturally bright young girl who happens to be dying from the rapid-ageing syndrome progeria. If, during their scenes together, the shadow of camp falls briefly across the novel's elegant, Gothic surface, this is still an intriguing cold-case mystery.