The Craftsman

The Craftsman

Blurb

The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton is set in 1960’s Sabden, Lancashire at a time of great fear for the local community with the memory of the Moors Murders fresh in their mind and three local teenagers missing.

WPC Lovelady is about to get the biggest break of her career when she arrests local casket maker Larry Glassbrook for burying the three teenagers alive.

30 years later she returns to the Lancashire Village for Larry’s funeral and begins to suspect that maybe she got it wrong and someone else was responsible after all, someone powerful and with a knowledge of the occult.


Our Review

The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton is set in 1960’s Sabden, Lancashire at a time of great fear for the local community with the memory of the Moors Murders fresh in their mind and three local teenagers missing.

“It’ll be a long time before folk round here get over what those two did,” Tom said. “Maybe they never will. Something like that happens it taints a place. People feel responsible when they can’t keep their kids safe, even if it’s a neighbour’s kid or kids from the other side of town. Kids die, it’s everyone’s fault and people round here can’t cope with it again. Not this soon.”

WPC Lovelady is about to get the biggest break of her career when she arrests local casket maker Larry Glassbrook for burying the three teenagers alive.

30 years later she returns to the Lancashire Village for Larry’s funeral and begins to suspect that maybe she got it wrong and someone else was responsible after all, someone powerful and with a knowledge of the occult.

The Craftsman made it onto our list of New Books to Look out for in May 2018 because from everything I had read and heard about it I could see it was getting a lot of hype for good reasons and once I started reading it I could tell my initial judgement was right.

Sharon Bolton’s letter to the reader at the beginning of The Craftsman only served to peak my interest as I have always liked learning about the history of witchcraft in this country.

“There is one book I always wanted to write. The book about me, and women like me. Women of the North, who stand out from the crowd, and who are punished by that same crowd for daring to be different. I have always wanted to write a book about witches. Specifically, how women become witches. Do they make that choice themselves, or is it made for them? I used to think the latter, that it is societies that create witches. Now, after several years of research, I’m not so sure. I no longer dismiss the idea of witchcraft. Now, I think we all have powers within us. And some of us have learned to use them.

The Craftsman is the story of women and witches, of the children we love and must protect. And of the men who fear us.

I do hope you enjoy it.”

The book begins in August 1999 with the community of Sabden and some members of the press gathered for the funeral of Larry Glassbrook. Among those at the funeral is Florence who was last in the village 30 years ago. She isn’t certain why she has come back for the funeral of the man she helped capture so many years ago.

“I wonder what words his headstone might carry: Loving husband, devoted father, merciless killer.”

As he is buried she and the others contemplate that this is what Larry did to his victims except they were alive at the time.

Florence lodged with the Glassbrook family for five months during 1969. Florence used to visit Larry in prison, but she couldn’t explain why even to herself. She never spoke to him about the case on these visits because she didn’t want to give him any power over her by letting him know there were things the police still had questions about.

On one of her last visits to him Larry asks her why she never asks him about the case and she in turn asks if he has anything to tell her, but he says he told it to the bees. Remembering this she decides to check out the old bee hive at the house they lived in 30 years previously. She is shocked to find a clay picture of herself in the hive. The house was searched after Larry’s arrest so how did it get there?

Glassbrook’s victims had all been found with clay pictures, a kind of voodoo doll well known locally because they were supposedly used by the witches killed during the Pendle witch trials which took place near to the town.

On the way out of the Glassbrook house in the present day, Florence bumps into her 15-year-old son Ben. He questions her about what happened in the 60’s and how she came to be missing a finger.

As much as I enjoyed the book I found that I liked the parts of the book set in the 60’s much more. I don’t know if it was because I liked Florence’s character better in the past or because I felt like the themes of discrimination and witchcraft were much more central during these parts.

During her time in Sabden during the 60’s she was very much an outsider in the community. A Southern woman in a Northern town. An intelligent woman with a talent for finding leads in an investigation dominated by her male colleagues. Half of her workmates think she should be protected from the gory truths of the case and the other half are of the opinion that she is far to clever for her own good and knows it, also that she the police force is no place for a woman.

The descriptions of the state in which the victims were found was very graphic, particularly Patsy, and I feel they added to the sense of foreboding I felt as a reader during the book.  

My favourite thing about the book was the frequent elements of the occult that cropped up throughout, I thought they made It a much more interesting read.

 

Our Final Rating...

Our Rating

  • Currently 4.1/5

Read & Shared 55 Times.

I hope you enjoyed this book review, please consider sharing it with others.

Get In Touch

Please feel free to leave a comment to this book review below. Or even leave your own review if you like.
If you run a blog and/or have posted a review to this book, a Q & A or general author interview online you can always add a trackback to it here and following moderation we'll add a link to it below.

Loading...