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Magic And Murder Meet In Suffolk, With Short Stories Exploring The Spirit Of Place, And The Dark Side Of Belief A Dangerous Place Is An Anthology Of Crime Stories All Set In The Same Place, But Spread Out Over The Course Of Two Thousand Years Each Crime Is Set Against The Backdrop Of Changing Religious And Magical Mystical Beliefs, Such As Iron Age Druidry, Anglo Saxon Heathenry, Victorian Spiritualism, Modern Neo Paganism, And Interweaves Old Fashioned Detection With Mysticism And Criminal Psychology


15 thoughts on “A Dangerous Place

  1. says:

    A Dangerous Place is a collection of ten crime stories set in Ipswich, and covering over two thousand years of history From the Iron Age to the modern day the sinister power of Castle Hill exudes its baleful influence on those who inhabit it leading to gruesome murder after gruesome murder.I have to say that the only thing I knew about Ipswich, before picking up this book, was that a few years back it gained notoriety as the stomping ground of a serial killer bent on murdering women so the title A Dangerous Place certainly seemed appropriate However, the focus and theme of this book is the animist and polytheist concept of how a place can have a genius loci , spirit of place, which can influence its human inhabitants Robin Herne provides a very good introduction to explain the premise for his collection to those less familiar with this world view.The setting for each of the ten tales is Castle Hill, Ipswich, and each of tales takes place in distinct and well researched historical periods in fact Herne ends each story with a comprehensive and very readable set of explanatory notes I was reminded of other weightier tomes such as Edward Rutherford s London which told the story of London from earliest times and, like Herne, had reoccurring families and character types Unlike Rutherford though, Herne weaves a pagan and spiritual theme throughout his tales Not just travelling through social history there is a welcome inclusion of gay and lesbian victims and protagonists in the cast of characters but through the history of beliefs Druids, Heathens, Puritans, Spiritualists and Modern Pagan all get a turn on the murderous stage of history Herne demonstrates how paganism once the lifeblood of Britain was suppressed by incoming religions but never quite eradicated.One of the things that I liked most, was that Herne was not afraid to incorporate real historical characters One of my favourite stories was set in the seventeenth century and concerned Mary Lakeland, a real life woman accused of murdering her husband through witchcraft The epistolary style of this tale was very effective He also incorporated the often neglected role of the Cunning man into one of his tales and I could definitely see Dr Bayldon Winter being the focus of further stories My decided preference was for the later tales I can say that I really began to enjoy these stories from The Golem onwards Suffer a Witch , A Doctor Calls and The Black Dog were my favorite stories Look out for the humorous parody of Holmes and Watson in The Black Dog Perhaps it is simply that I am familiar with those historical periods, or that the sinister reputation of Castle Hill took a few stories to establish itself Herne admits in the introduction that it is almost impossible to define what characterises a Genius Loci as joyful or sinisterhe considers that in some cases it may be simply experience that makes a place hostile to humansand he certainly wastes no time in laying down enough negative experiences connected with Castle Hill to make the reader believe his theory.One of the elements that I particularly enjoyed about these tales was that although they each stand alone the folk memories and long forgotten religious practices of previous generations that feature in earlier tales, resurface as half remembered folk memories the dog is one such reoccurring theme and are woven into the fabric of each succeeding story, thereby providing the dark thread that binds both the past and the future together.My only caveat would be that the short story format does not always allow for a great amount of detail to build up, those expecting complex forensic crime stories may be a little disappointed at the speed at which crimes are wrapped up However, Herne provides a well researched, entertaining collection of murder mysteries in a variety of literary styles and with a historical and spiritual twist Not only that, he successfully creates a wonderful cast of memorable and sometimes eccentric detectives who employ everything from observation, psycho analysis to mysticism in their historical crime fighting All in all, a good read


  2. says:

    Whether the Ipswich marketing board will view this book as a good thing remains to be seen It could do for Ipswich what Dracula did for Whitby recasting it as a gothic location full of glorious, ghastly potential Robin certainly hasn t portrayed his hometown as somewhere innately charming, and having been there it is easy to see why How does the genius loci of a place affect its inhabitants How do the inhabitants shape the atmosphere of a place over time What this collection offers, are short, often very Pagan murder mysteries all based in Ipswich from the Iron Age onwards Sparkling writing, an abundance of twists, and a mix of genuine history and imagination If you like puzzle and less gore in your crime writing, in the style of Agatha Christie, this is an ideal read and I can very much recommend it.The tales are fascinating Crime and resolution are told sharply and in relatively few words Each tale is fresh and surprising, and sometimes there are threads of connection between tales and locations A splendid book You will never think of Ipswich in quite the same way again.


  3. says:

    What a fabulous book A collection of short stories, all with a pagan theme, each one with mystery woven in and all based around the same spot in Suffolk but spread out over the span of two and a half millennia, it s as if you were stood in the same spot and history rolls past you like a fast forward film At the end of each story are the author s notes giving the reasons, explanations, whys and wherefores behind it Absolutely fascinating and well worth reading whether you are a pagan, an historian or otherwise.