Title: CRY OF THE MACHI: A Suffolk Murder Mystery
Author: Alan S. Blood
Length: 160 pages
Release Date: November 2013
Imprint: Enigma Press
Summary: Like all English villages, the quiet and charming Thorpe Amberley in the heart of the Suffolk countryside has its secrets, its mysteries and its legends. It also has its traditions, such as the Tamberley Morris Men, a dysfunctional band of blow-ins, mainly professionals, who rehearse every Thursday and drink in the local pub.
Nothing much has served to disturb the tranquillity of Thorpe Amberley for centuries. Until now. A stunningly beautiful American woman comes to the village to teach at a nearby school, and her arrival coincides with the resurrection of deadly seeds of jealousy, evil and murder.
When the village is rocked by a series of gruesome and apparently ritualistic killings, it soon becomes clear that the local police are up against dark forces which they are wholly unequipped to deal with. Unlikely help comes from the shamanistic connection with a Patagonian Machi through the Morris Men's Squire and the unexpected assistance of an ex-NYPD policeman. A hunt for not one, but two serial killers, is on, and Thorpe Amberley will never be the same again.
'CRY OF THE MACHI A Suffolk Murder Mystery' belongs in the somewhat unusual category of a supernatural Crime thriller and is therefore much more complex that a mere Crime Novel.
I have always been fascinated by the paranormal and have, at times, experienced some inexplicable, strange phenomena. As a Morris dancer in the very old English 'Cotswold' Dancing Tradition, I was intrigued by the murky beginnings of this ancient form of recreation which has deep rooted links with centuries old mystical pagan rituals.
Beyond the colorful sights and sounds of Morris Dancers performing, to the delight and applause of a crowd of onlookers, outside of an English country pub on a balmy summer's evening, there is a dark sinister side to the history of the proceedings. Despite various theories, even the most ardent Morris Dancers, let lone spectators, are unsure of the whereabouts, location, origins and birth of the dancing, as this has never been conclusively proved.
In 'CRY OF THE MACHI...' I wanted, through the novel, to explore possibilities of dark connections to the dancing. This, in actual fact, was also motivated by an extremely ugly, bitter dispute between two of my fellow dancers who were each both having a sexual affair with one of the ladies in our associated 'sister' women's 'Clog Dancing' troupe. It was unpleasant nastiness that is normally unheard of amongst the usually very nice folk who take up Morris Dancing and this, in itself, again motivated me to be inspired to think about a story where extremely appalling events occur to completely disrupt the harmony of a Morris Dancing side, as well as the English village which supports it. Having embarked upon this, I decided to incorporate repulsive murder in the form of gruesome serial killings into the plot and sub-plots – further linked to forces, as well as organised crime, all connected to a 'Master' whose supernatural powers date back to the earliest of time.
The novel really took shape with addition of another powerful dimension when I visited Chile and witnessed ancient Folk Dancing uncannily similar to 'The Morris'. Research there also took me to the frequently shamanistic rituals of the 'Machi' witch doctors, in remotest Patagonia, that relate to the whole cosmos and cementing the idea of linking them to the already developing story. Having previously lived in an isolated part of the very rural English County of Suffolk, where sometimes witchcraft was still practiced, I created the fictitious village of 'Thorpe Amberley' where, apart from associated events in Chile, the main story takes place.
The main theme of the novel, examining the wider, age old conflict between the forces of good and evil, slowly unravels through the book whereby 'CRY OF THE MACHI A Suffolk Murder Mystery' endeavors to leave readers to draw their own conclusions in relation to the whole basis of our existence in this world, within the the vastness of the universe.
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