Friday, 16 October 2015

A Creepy Company by Joan Aiken reviewed by Karen Bush

A Creepy Company

I've loved Joan Aiken ever since a librarian thrust one of her books of short stories in my hands when I was eight. I especially loved the ones about the Armitage family - which happily have all been gathered together in The Serial Garden - which I have reviewed elsewhere on here. Then I found The Wolves of Willoughby Chase and promptly devoured all her Dido Twite stories. I thought I'd read pretty well all of her children's books so was excited to find one I hadn't come across yet - and it certainly doesn't disappoint. It is categorised as being 'teenage' but I'd say it definitely has a foot just as equally planted in the adult camp. In fact, I reckon that with the exception of Mortimer, a lot of her 'children's' books are just as much fare for grown ups ... This is classic Aiken, with that deliciously dark edginess that marks her best stuff. It is dark rather than milk chocolate, and if you bite into it expecting a soft centre you are likely to break a tooth. It is fabulously, richly edifying writing - and having listened to it on audio, I can also report that it makes for terrific listening too.