There is only one thing worse than a horror/crime tale like The Vanishing of Katharina Linden, and Helen Grant has written one of those this time. That’s ‘worse’ as in ‘better worse’, obviously. The Vanishing was really fairly scary, but, it was set on Pia’s home turf; the small town where she had always lived and where she sort of belonged. Although with a foreign mother I suppose you’re never totally at home.
Lin in The Glass Demon has the misfortune of being English, and she and her family have been forcibly transported to Germany when her father decides to go and do research there. And when the scary things get weirder and weirder, and things go bump in the night, you don’t really want to be a foreigner some place where they don’t like strangers much. You really don’t.
They have barely arrived when Lin stumbles over her first corpse. Mum has hysterics and dad doesn’t want to know. You can just tell it’s a slightly dysfunctional family, and Germany isn’t helping. And since it’s mentioned very early in the book, it’s no spoiler to say that we know that Lin’s sister Polly will die. It’s the kind of information that makes you sit on tenterhooks and worry throughout, and the red herrings abound.
Lin’s dad wants to find the famous, ancient stained glass windows which nobody has seen for a very long time, and that may no longer exist. There is a demon attached to the story of the glass, and the town is a superstitious one.
Dad is obsessed with the idea that he could be famous and possibly very rich if he finds the glass and can write a book about it. Before anyone else. Never mind that accidents keep happening, or that they live in an old castle in the middle of a forest with no mobile phone signal. Yes, imagine that.
Add some potential romantic interest for Lin, an irate neighbour, a handsome priest and a little exorcism, more deaths and nosy old women, and you have a nice little horror story. The pages virtually turn themselves.