The Secret History transplanted to Scotland's wilderness. The school was called Eden but it was no paradise, and after the suicide it closed its doors and the children scattered - taking a secret with them which 30 years later, someone is making sure they take to the grave.
A long-lost friend is a stranger you think you know
Eden was its name. "An alternative school for happy children," said the brochure. "A load of hippies running wild in the woods," said the locals. After a suicide it closed its doors and the children scattered.
Thirty years later, it's a care home; its grounds neglected and overgrown, its only neighbour Gloria Harkness, who acts as tenant-caretaker in a rundown farmhouse to be close to her son. Nicky lives in the home, lighting up Gloria's life and breaking her heart every day.
Nicky and a ragbag of animals aren't enough to keep loneliness at bay, and when Gloria's childhood friend and secret sweetheart, Stephen "Stig" Tarrant, turns up at her door one night, all she can see is the boy she knew. She lets him in.
Stig's being stalked by an Eden girl, he says. She has goaded him into meeting her at the site of the suicide. Except that suddenly, after all these years, the dead are beginning to speak and suicide is not what they say.
When the children of Eden were sent out into the world they took a secret with them. And someone is making sure they take it to the grave.
In her novels, Catriona McPherson spins webs of intrigue so beautiful and intricate she puts spiders to shame. With The Child Garden, she once again proves why she has rapidly become a star in the thriller genre. Her voice is seductive, her characters odd and engaging, her sense of place spot on, and I dare anyone to be able to predict where any of the story's dark but delightful twists are going to lead. This is a book you will absolutely devour
I loved this book so much I can barely speak. From page one, it's seamlessly told, beautifully original, and the voice, well, the voice is proof that Catriona McPherson is a powerful force and major talent in crime fiction. And the last page? I cried
Deeply resonant, utterly original, compelling and satisfying, Catriona McPherson's The Child Garden is the work of a master - of character, tone, setting and plot - writing at the thriller-most top of her form
Weaving strands of literary mystery, horror, and magical realism, The Child Garden is a twisting, now-you-see-it-now-you-don't tale about the ripple effect of tragedy. But the tremulous miracle at the heart of this novel is its heroine, Gloria Harkness, a phoenix rising from the ashes of a life that's tried to drag her down. When justice is meted out after long decades, you have the makings of a very satisfying mystery. When that justice brings with it a second chance at life, you have a book that will make any reader cheer
Early in The Child Garden, Gloria Harkness calls her disabled son a heartbreaker, but Gloria is the one who'll break the reader's heart. Lonely and scared that everyone she cares for won't die in the right order, Gloria is loyal, trusting, and underestimated. The Child Garden is smart, complex, even a little magical - and absolutely chilling
Catriona McPherson was born in the village of Queensferry in south-east Scotland in 1965 and educated at Edinburgh University. She left with a PhD in Linguistics and spent a few years as a university lecturer before beginning to write fiction. The first Dandy Gilver novel was short-listed for the CWA Ellis Peters Historical Dagger 2005 and the second was long-listed for the Theakston's Crime Novel of the Year Award 2007. The series has won two Agathas, two Macavitys, and four Leftys in the USA.Catriona writes full-time and divides her time between southern Scotland and northern California.