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Book Review

Maria Donovan (Seren Books)

When a book opens with, “The day before the murder, George Bull tried to poison me with a cheese sandwich”, you know you’re onto a winner. Maria Donovan’s novel is definitely one you won’t want to put down. Told from the perspective of Michael, an adolescent, the story charts the disruption of his life – from his best friend’s father dying, to his school bully moving in next door and culminating in the demise of neighbour Irma. Michael is suspicious of George the bully and his father (who now lives with Irma) and believes she has been murdered whilst making him chicken soup. Michael lives with his grandmother and there is a mystery surrounding the absence of his parents. However, after Irma’s death, secrets from the past threaten to surface and Michael’s grandmother must decide what is the best course of action. The story is a moving depiction of loss and grief and the extraordinary ways people deal with the aftermath. After Irma dies, Michael continues to have visions of her lurking under his bed. Despite its sombre subject matter, the book is humorous and the child-narrator is a refreshing voice. Donovan’s well-balanced novel has keen observations of human motivation, carefully-drawn characters and well-executed moments of bathos. With other surprising sub-plots and set against real events from 2012, this story has depth and is a great one for curling up with now the nights are drawing-in, but not necessarily with a mug of soup…

Price: £9.99. Info:


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  • Maria Donovan

    Thank you, Lucy Menon! And a merry everything to you …