The Haunting of Henderson Close -⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Book Review

The Haunting of Henderson Close

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Catherine Cavendish

“Ghosts have always walked there. Now they’re not alone…

In the depths of Edinburgh, an evil presence is released.

Hannah and her colleagues are tour guides who lead their visitors along the spooky, derelict Henderson Close, thrilling them with tales of spectres and murder. For Hannah it is her dream job, but not for long. Who is the mysterious figure that disappears around a corner? What is happening in the old print shop? And who is the little girl with no face?

The legends of Henderson Close are becoming all too real. The Auld De’il is out – and even the spirits are afraid.”

I knew I was going to adore this book before I read it, I just had that feeling. I was right. This was my first time reading Catherine Cavendish and not my last. This book hit all the right notes for me. I have so many happy memories of Edinburgh, including Old Town, Royal Mile, and of course, the infamous ghost walks through the old closes of the city.

Hannah has started her new job as a tour guide at one of Edinburgh’s famous closes. Henderson Close. She has left her old life, and moved up to Edinburgh for a fresh start. This is her ideal job, she loves drama and acting, and this is just perfect for her. The idea of these ghost tours is to gently scare the customers, while also giving them a peek into the dark history of Edinburgh’s Old Town. What Hannah didn’t expect of course, was to come face to face with actual ghosts, and an evil that has been following her for her entire life.

Catherine Cavendish does an amazing job within this book of giving you the feeling of being there, in Edinburgh’s Old Town, surrounded by the stench, the claustrophobic closeness of the buildings, the noise and the nervous uncertainty. She takes us on a journey though time, and into the midst of a murder mystery. Just who was Miss Carmichael’s killer?

This is what Hannah, George and Mairead must find out. A once sealed evil has now been released into their world. Their only way to stop it, find the killer, the one who got away, before it’s too late.

Everything about this book spoke to me. The characters are very real, with their distinct personalities shining through the pages, giving them life. The setting, the atmosphere of Edinburgh past and present is tangible. You can almost smell the manure, the human waste. You can hear the whinnying of the horses, the clatter of people. She brings Henderson Close to life.

Having been on a couple of the walking ghost tours while in Edinburgh last year, this was like going on a third. It was exactly like I was there again, gripping onto Andy as we stumbled through the closes, being treated to jump scares from our tour guides and nervously wondering if a ghost was actually there, watching me. I love how real it felt, Hannah and her co workers getting into character. Taking on the roles of people from the past, engaging the customers and taking them on a fun history tour with a few good scares thrown in for good measure.

The mix in the story between the late 1800’s and the present day was perfect. There was no confusion, I never once felt like I was getting lost with the story. The pace and flow are spot on. I particularly enjoyed the time-slips, Hannah and Mairead appearing to slip back into Henderson Close’s past. It was very exciting to read and the ending, my god, the ending was unexpected. I loved it.

If you have read Catherine Cavendish before, then I need say no more, you are of course going to be reading this book. If you have not, like me, then all I can say is that you are missing out greatly. This is a wonderful story, beautifully written, with real characters and a perfect setting. Plenty of scares and creepiness included. This is definitely going in my re-read pile. I loved it.

5/5

Lesley-Ann (Housewife of Horror)

Cadies & Witchery Tour -Review

The Cadies and Witchery Tour – Edinburgh 2018

https://www.witcherytours.com/

 

What is a ‘cadie’? According to the Collins dictionary it is defined as: (Scottish) “a person in a large town or city in the 18th century who was on the lookout for chance employment, for example, as a messenger.”

 

So, let me set the scene:

20th April 2018, a lovely spring day, as a treat for my soon-to-be husband, I took him on a weekend getaway to Edinburgh, a place neither of us has visited prior.

For our first night there I had booked us on the 7pm ‘Ghosts & Gore’ tour, run by the award winning Cadies and Witchery Tour Company.

This was a first for us both, a walk-along street tour, described as “suspenseful and mirth filled”, taking place along the famous Royal Mile, the main artery running through Edinburgh’s Old Town. Here, the cadies are going to tell us about some of the gruesome and somewhat gore filled history of Edinburgh. We weren’t sure what to expect, but I assure you, it didn’t disappoint.

Our tour begins just a stone’s throw from the historic and dominating Edinburgh Castle. Our pre-purchased E-tickets tell us to meet outside ‘The Witchery by the Castle’ restaurant five minutes before the starting time. We arrive promptly at 6.55pm and don’t have to wait long. Chatting with fellow tour goers for a few minutes, we soon spot our well dressed guide making his way up the hill towards us. This would be the long deceased and infamous cemetery director, Alexander Clapperton.

The tone of the tour isn’t too serious, it’s very open, fun, and not to mention inclusive – audience participation is a must. We are taken on a spooky trip through the cobbled closes of Edinburgh’s old town, and through to the old courtyards. Here we learn about the history of the dwellings, how they would build them continuously on top of each other, expanding the city upwards rather than outwards. We hear tales of how the lowest classes would have to live at the top of the dwellings, and the highest of classes at the bottom. Of course, the higher you are, the more likely you are to die when the over-tall buildings eventually and fantastically collapse.

We are introduced to several figures from history including the ‘mad monk of Cowgate’, who was badly burned in a 17th century monastery fire. We are also introduced to Agnes Fynnie, a woman who was thought to be a witch, burned at the stake in 1641, and Jimmy Tamson, who had a short career removing and then burying the dead during the black plague of the 17th century. Finally we have Rhuari McLeod, a very animated highlander with lots to say regarding the invasion history of   Edinburgh.

This tour is full of torture, plague, witch-burning, grave robbing and hangings. Not to mention that if you are lucky you will be invited to test some of the old style torture devices.

The Cadies and Witchery Tour is a very interesting, fun and eye opening delve into the dark and murky past of Edinburgh. This is a family friendly experience, and a great introduction to the beautiful city of Edinburgh.

The Cadies and Witchery tours run daily. The length of the tour is approximately 80 minutes from start to finish, and begins from the Witchery by the Castle restaurant, located at 352 Castlehill, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh.

 

(https://www.thewitchery.com/). Prices are very reasonable, £10 for adults, £7.50 for children, with discounts for group bookings.

This is a highly recommended activity if you like gore, ghosts and giggles.witchery-tours-christmas-card-2003

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(Images courtesy of https://www.witcherytours.com/enter-our-lair)

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