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Blackheath Seance Parlour Paperback – 1 Aug 2013

4.5 out of 5 stars 174 customer reviews

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£9.99 FREE Delivery in the UK on orders with at least £10 of books. Only 4 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Cutting Edge Press (1 Aug. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 190812251X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1908122513
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 13.3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (174 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 329,330 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I was born in Wales with the Brecon Beacons as my garden, that will be incorporated into my upcoming book The Lanes of Wales (working title) though they might not be thrilled with it - it's pretty horrific - the book, not Wales.

I love travel, the more off the beaten track the better, the Peruvian Amazon, Venezuela's Mount Roraima (see Conan Doyle's Lost World) and the smaller town of Japan's Islands being my favourites - so far.

My heart runs to a small seaside town in West Wales whenever I need escape. I've turned that into my next novel The Adequate Swimmer.

I live in Blackheath, South East London, home of the Blackheath Seance Parlour and I work in film and television.

Basically, reading this back, I appear to be turning all the places I love into horrendous places in my books. I seem to be systematically destroying my life! Still, it's Bingo tonight.

Product Description


'A great read: funny, thought provoking, and lively. Not to mention a great way to be taken back in time as you walk across the heath. Just take a lantern with you...' - The Blackheath Bugle

'Grounded in realism, with local history spilling out from the pages and characters with an endearingly informal way of speaking that somehow evokes the spirit of the time.' - Emerald Street

'Here's a book that is perfect for the time of year - sibling love and rivalry, dark and broody gothic setting, ghosts and murders. A splash of humour, a lot of pubs and some cracking dialogue.' - Anne Cater Random Things Through My Letterbox

'It is great to see such a mental and unique and intriguing book. The fact that it delves in to historical opinions on the underworld and religion and women's place in society, as well as being a bit crazy and out there is wonderful and pretty darn unique if you ask me.' - Book Geek

'What a read! I honestly had no idea what to expect from this novel, but after a few pages I was hooked by the unusual and original storyline, the strong female characters, and the enthralling writing style of Alan Williams.' - A Spoonful of Happy Endings

'The descriptions in this brilliantly conveyed the dark other worldly goings on and the atmosphere of the book had me feeling like I was right there with the sisters! Fantastically spooky, gripping and gothic! A great read for Halloween!' - --Laura's Little Book Blog

About the Author

Alan Williams worked as a script editor for the BBC, working on "Absolutely Fabulous", "Birds of a Feather" and "Keeping up Appearances" to name but a few. He went on to edit "Writers' Monthly" and launch "Television Essentials" and "Advance Production News". He lives in Blackheath, London, has won awards for his short stories, and includes chocolate eclairs as one of his favourite hobbies.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Though not my ususal choice of subject matter I soon got caught up in the characters who were very well drawn and compelling, making me care about what happened to them and where the story led them and me the reader. I also like the atmosphere the book created of Victorian Black Heath and the dark arts. I read this book in November when the nights were drawing in and it suited the mood of this time of year. I was a little frustrated initially by the parallel story of the Count and Countess wondering what it had to do with the main plot, but when it was established as the plot of the novel by Judy, one of the main characters, I understood the place for it in the book. A very enjoyable and absorbing read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Brilliant! Loved it! Fantastic! Shall I stop raving yet and review? I think I should.

I purchased The Blackheath Seance Parlour after initially linking up with author Alan Williams on Twitter. The novel is split into two; one story following the lives of Maggie and Judy Cloak and the other following the lives of a count and countess who are, shall we say, a little different from the rest of the human race. Initially Maggie and Judy are in the depths of despair; penniless and borderline alcoholic spinsters.They are following in the footsteps of ancestors by running a chocolate shop in Blackheath. However the business is failing and they are practically desolate. Then Judy comes up with the idea of transforming their store into a Seance Parlour. Enter medium Mrs Walters and so the adventures begin.

As the novel progresses we discover that the count and countess are products of a book written by Judy who holds dreams of publication. Whether or not she is successful, I will leave you to find out. However I will say that I felt that this subplot worked well and did not detract from the main storyline.

I am intrigued by stories of the dark arts and this is what led me to read BSP. The descriptions of Maggie as she battles with her lack of ability then subsequently her extreme powers and personal demons, are so believable. The novel is set in an era where the public were obsessed with contacting spirits and it demonstrates the great lengths performers would go to fulfil this. The final chapters leave you feeling both a sense of happiness and a sense of sorrow, but the ending is somewhat fitting for all characters.

I have already asked Alan Williams if there is another book on the pipeline and he assures me that he is "nearly there".
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Format: Paperback
For those who don't know it, Blackheath is a suburb in south-east London that has managed to retain a little bit of a village feel to it, despite being over-run by estate agents. I live there and I confess that I bought this book (from the village bookshop, of course) mainly because it was clearly a "local" story and I was intrigued by the title. It sat in my pile of "books to read" for about a month but once I started it, I was annoyed to have to put it down.

I won't relate the plot; some reviewers have already revealed too much. Bit suffice to say that after a slightly slow start there are plenty of twists and turns, including one that caught me completely by surprise. Perhaps unusually, the main characters are all women and are well drawn whereas the men, with one notable exception, are mainly foils. In that way, it's an interesting reversal on the novels of the period in which it is set. It's also pleasing that while the author has clearly done his research he doesn't clutter the narrative with superfluous information to demonstrate the point.

Since I finished it I've been raving about this book to all the "reading" friends that I know. The last book to have that effect on on me was The Time Traveler's Wife. I bought about a dozen copies of that and gave it to people as Christmas presents. I may do the same with this. As a final endorsement: my wife, who rarely has time to read, picked it up and finished it in a day, which is some recommendation.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A great story with some unusual characters who develop throughout the book.

Without giving any of the storyline away, briefly, story itself begins with two sisters stuck in a routine and life that has very little reward. They rely too much on each other for company but you feel they almost resent each other for it. Not actually in complete agreement with each other they embark on a new business venture, a seance parlour. From the offset of their new business, the sisters relationship begins to deteriorate, all past and present memories are brought to the fore and they struggle to maintain any sort of normality. Throughout, and running parallel to the story is another, a fictional one which one of the sisters is the author of. However, this in itself has repercussions on their already haphazard lives.

This book has a lot going for it, its entertaining and has much to keep you thinking without being unnecessarily complicated. The characters are funny and captivating, even when they are being dreadful and quite unpleasant! I would definitely recommend this fact, I think it would make a great film.....I said it first!!!
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