The Resurrection of the Body by Maggie Hamand
|The Resurrection of the Body by Maggie Hamand|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A small book which packs an amazing punch with a compelling mystery, good characters and an examination of love, religion and madness. Highly recommended|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 208||Date: March 2008|
|Publisher: Maia Press Limited|
On Good Friday Vicar Richard Page was conducting the lengthy and emotional service when a man staggered into the church and collapsed. He'd been viciously stabbed and died two days later in hospital. He carried no identification and no one recognised him, or reported him missing. Bizarrely, his body was then stolen from the mortuary, leaving the police baffled and suspicious that the vicar is somehow involved in what has happened.
The ground work for this book was originally done in 1994 – under exam conditions for the World One-Day Novel Cup when it was the outright winner. It's since been expanded, but much of the book remains as it was originally written. I can only assume that Maggie Hamand thrives on pressure because the writing is elegant, with a deceptive simplicity and the plot compelling and convincing.
The setting isn't fictional although the characters are, but it was a masterstroke to deliver the dying man into the middle of the Good Friday service when the vicar and his congregation were all in an emotional and suggestible state of mind. It isn't only the vicar who later realises that the dead man bore an uncanny resemblance to the picture of Jesus Christ in the church. He's not the only person to see someone working in the vicinity who looks very much like the dead man. Is this a case of resurrection or is the vicar's obsession with finding out what really happened driving him to the edge of madness? Should he tell people what he has seen and start a media furore or suggest that it was all in people's imagination?
It's not a lengthy book – I read it in about three hours - but its scope is massive. Richard Page's obsession brings him into conflict with his wife, his congregation, his superiors and the police. He's forced to re-examine his faith, or possibly even his lack of it and the basis of his family life. Whilst this might sound rather worthy it's skilfully woven into a plot where the tension escalates almost imperceptibly throughout the book until it reaches the stunning and rather eerie finale, which will leave you satisfied and guessing.
If you're looking for the perfect read for the Easter weekend – or indeed any other then this must be the book and I'm grateful to the people at Maia Press for sending me a copy.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Resurrection of the Body by Maggie Hamand at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Resurrection of the Body by Maggie Hamand at Amazon.com.
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