The Minotaur’s Children

Written by Alan McKee
Review by B. N. Peacock

The Minotaur’s Children draws the reader into a nightmare maze where nothing is as it seems. Upright Victorians live in deliberate ignorance of child prostitution and murder. In this world where vice masquerades as virtue, painter Miles Hickenbotham contentedly mingles with his lovely, “modern” cousins Serafina and Julia Winstanly. Miles is anxious to marry Serafina, but she’d much rather pursue her charities and leave him dangling. Then news reporter Julia reads the scandalous scoop she helped break, that of the white slave trade ring, “the great London Minotaur.” Everyone attributes Mrs.Winstanly’s nervous collapse to the older generation’s sensibilities. But was it?

With Serafina consistently cool, Miles develops an attachment to an enigmatic Anglo-Asian girl, Katherine Green.  A photographer and psychic, Katherine lives in poverty-ridden White Chapel Road. Liking Miles, she helps try to solve the disappearance of younger sister, Amelia, years ago. As they uncover the clues, Katherine, Miles, Serafina, and Julia find themselves in an emotional maze made even more macabre by the horrendous Jack the Ripper murders. Can Amelia’s disappearance somehow be interconnected with the Minotaur, the White Chapel murders . . . and them?

McKee masterly handles mood and tone, not to mention plot twists and turns. The cover, designed by the author, neatly captures the book’s otherworldly photographic sense. The printing, however, leaves one with the impression it was done on a computer. All in all, though, The Minotaur’s Children is a deliciously brooding read.