The Black Book of Secrets by F.E.Higgins

Macmillan Children’s Books c2007;  288p

isbn: 9781405089791

Torment, fear, revulsion,suspense, mystery, action…all this within the first few pages of F.E. Higgins debut novel!

The Black Book Of Secrets was shortlisted for the Bolton Children’s Book Award in 2008. It is the first book in  the series Tales from the Sinister City

I have to agree with Eoin Colfer’s comment that this story does “grab at the reader with hooked talons!”  I don’t know of too many stories where in the first few opening pages we see the main character , in this instance a young lad named Ludlow Fitch , being strapped down in a dentist’s chair just as he is going to have his teeth extracted without the benefit of  any numbing drug! Ludlow fights off the Dentist and his gin-loving parents and escapes falling into their clutches by ‘catching’ a ride on a carriage into the country.  He jumps off at a remote town called Pagus Parvus and meets up with a  questionable stranger called Joe Zabbidou. Mystery and intrigue surrounds Joe and Ludlow suddenly finds himself with new occupation — an apprentice to this ‘pawnbroker of secrets’.  Now the transcriber of the ‘Black Book’  and of  the town people’s stories as they swap their secrets with Joe, for money, Ludlow is privy to many of the town peoples’ secrets. Listening in on these extremely private conversations, (at times almost feeling like a peeping Tom!) I became as intensely interested, just as Ludlow was, as to how the problem of the town bully would be solved!  This debut novel by Higgins had me glued in my seat until the last page!  Even though the majority of the time is spent with adult characters, does not detract from appealing to the young reader that enjoys a twist or two the macabre, bizarre and strange !!

I definately will be looking forward to reading The Bone Magician and The Eyeball Collector!  Highly recommended!!!!

Reading Level:  Grade 5,6,7

Genre:  Mystery; Fantasy

Authors Website:


2 Responses to The Black Book of Secrets by F.E.Higgins

  1. Sounds fairly dark and yet I am intrigued. I may have to check this one ot at some stage.

  2. reed williams says:

    really awesome book it is my favourite

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