Following my deal with N° 2 sprog, I today read Marcus Sedgwick’s White Crow, which N° 2 had read with great enthusiasm. It is indeed an excellent gothic but contemporary horror story that rattles forward and I greatly admire Sedgwick’s skill in concocting it. He even explains how he did it in the acknowledgements at the end, bringing together three stories based on true elements, and then weaving the lives of two youngsters around this combination. The three elements are, respectively, the Suffolk coastal village of Dunwich (once a thriving medieval town and the capital of East Anglia, but steadily reduced by the encroaching sea to become today’s village); a French scientist, Dr Gabriel Beaurieux, who in 1905 observed that the head of a freshly guillotined prisoner lived on for a good half-minute; and the fascination of Henry James’s brother, William James (a psychologist and philosopher), with the possibility of the afterlife. Magicians are always told not to reveal how they do their tricks. Sedgwick reveals how he does his it but his magic would still be beyond most of us.