When the Dead Come Calling

Pages: 384
Subject: Fiction
Imprint: Point Blank

When the Dead Come Calling

The Burrowhead Mysteries: A Scottish Book Trust 2020 Great Scottish Novel

Helen Sedgwick

In the first of the Burrowhead Mysteries, an atmospheric murder investigation unearths the brutal history of a village where no one is innocent.
9781786079374 (3 Jun 2021)
RRP £8.99
9781786075697 (9 Jan 2020)
RRP £14.99

The Book

A Scottish Book Trust 2020 Great Scottish Novel

‘Unputdownable... Helen Sedgwick saw into the future and that future is now! It's an incredible book! READ IT.' Lemn Sissay, author of My Name Is Why

In the first of the Burrowhead Mysteries, an atmospheric murder investigation unearths the brutal history of a village where no one is innocent.

When psychotherapist Alexis Cosse is found murdered in the playground of the sleepy northern village of Burrowhead, DI Strachan and her team of local police investigate, exposing a maelstrom of racism, misogyny and homophobia simmering beneath the surface of the village.

Shaken by the revelations and beginning to doubt her relationship with her husband, DI Strachan discovers something lurking in the history of Burrowhead, while someone (or something) equally threatening is hiding in the strange and haunted cave beneath the cliffs...

Additional Information

Subject Fiction
Pages 384
Imprint Point Blank


About the Author

Helen Sedgwick is the author of The Comet Seekers and The Growing Season, which was shortlisted for the Saltire Society Fiction Book of the Year in 2018. The opener to her Burrowhead Mysteries crime trilogy, When the Dead Come Calling, was published in 2020, followed by Where the Missing Gather in 2021. She has an MLitt in Creative Writing from Glasgow University and has won a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award. Before she became an author, she was a research physicist with a PhD in Physics from Edinburgh University. She lives in the Scottish Highlands. 


‘Unputdownable. When the Dead Come Calling tracks the toxin which seeped into a village. If you read closer you will see who the ‘key workers' are. Helen Sedgwick saw into the future and that future is now! It's an incredible book! READ IT.'

- Lemn Sissay, author of My Name Is Why

‘The author has created an intriguing plot with twists and turns underlaid with the supernatural and her descriptions of the landscape and changing weather, brooding and windswept, bright and sunny is an original metaphor for how the investigation is proceeding. This is a stunning, complex, out-of-the mainstream novel that's completely immersive.'

- Mystery People

'When The Dead Come Calling by Helen Sedgewick is a favourite current book of mine -  all about race and class in contemporary Britain but all wrapped inside a brill  thriller.'

- Lemn Sissay, author of My Name Is Why

‘Sedgwick's writing is minutely observational, clever and warm. One minute you are transported by her descriptions of the landscape, the next she is raising the hairs on the back of your neck with her dreamlike descriptions of whatever lurks in the cave at the foot of the cliffs. It is her portrayal of the closed world of a remote community, however, that will chill you to the bone.'

- Scotsman

'A multi-layered tale from a range of viewpoints that reaches back into history and poses as many questions as it answers… the pages of When The Dead Come Calling fairly sizzle with stagmen, menhirs and evil carrion birds… a thumpingly good read shot through with some beautiful prose.'

- The Herald, Scotland

‘The dense narrative moves back and forth, incorporating horrors from the past and fears and resentments from the present. The final twist works well and adds an extra layer to the story that is both surprising and moving.'

- Literary Review

'Helen Sedgwick weaves a clever combination of psychological suspense and low-key police procedural.'

- Crimereview

'Creepy, atmospheric and spine-tingling, When The Dead Come Calling is the kind of mystery so deviously plotted it left me reeling. Brilliant.'

- Chris Whitaker, author of Tall Oaks

'When The Dead Come Calling confirms what many of us already knew: Helen Sedgwick is one of Scotland's finest contemporary storytellers.'

- Claire Askew, author of All the Hidden Truths

'Beautifully written, beguiling and mysterious, the sort of book that would reward a second (and third) read. And a twisty plot with an undercurrent of supernatural malevolence that ticked all my boxes.'

- Fiona Erskine, author of The Chemical Detective

'By combining up-to-the-minute themes, well-tuned dialogue and warm and witty details of everyday life with a deep, impressionistic sense of dread, Sedgwick produces a mystery as addictive as it is anxiety-inducing ... deserves to be a stonking series with wide appeal that should run and run.'

- Molly Flatt, author of The Charmed Life of Alex Moore

'It's the poetic quality of her writing that makes this a moodily engrossing, and rather uneasy, opening to the series.'

- Peterborough Telegraph

'Helen Sedgwick's crime fiction debut When the Dead Come Calling is assured, engaging and beautifully layered. Intriguing characters meet contemporary issues, and historical whispers, in a haunting landscape. A must-read for 2020!'

- Scottish Book Trust

'An ethereal, supernatural take on the crime genre.'

- Huntly Express

‘If you are after a cosy thriller, then this is not it. But if you're interested in a really well-written, atmospheric, complex and mysterious story, then this may be it!... I loved the imagery of the landscape, where it seemed always to be raining. Indeed, the physical setting is a real character in this novel. I loved the motley cast of characters, both the police and the locals. The star is DI Strachan, who is desperately trying to prevent her little station being closed in the recent ‘rationalisation' of services. And I loved the multi-layered, historical perspectives of the novel. This is the first in the Burrowhead series and I'm looking forward to seeing where Helen Sedgwick takes it.'

- Knittingreadingshrink review

‘Helen Sedgwick creates a chilling sense of evil, of impending disaster with some exquisite writing… Sedgwick trusts her readers to understand and dispenses with tedious explaining: it's truly an exceptional book'.

- The Bookbag blog

Praise for The Comet Seekers:

'A magical debut…a gorgeous novel that should resonate with fans of Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveller's Wife A breathtaking tale full of love, hope and heartbreak. You'll be utterly captivated from the first page.' Elle

'Beautiful, sad, moving, fascinating and original. I loved it.' Marian Keyes

'A stellar love story.' Glamour, Book of the Year

'Exquisitely layered, thrilling novel, which leaps across centuries and continents to delve into the role of destiny and the elusiveness of perception and memory.' New York Times

'A spellbinding tale of love and loss, aglimmer with passion and melancholy.' Sunday Express, S Magazine

Praise for The Growing Season:

'So enjoyed The Growing Season. . . Galloped my way to the conclusion, despite wishing it would never end. Smart & provocative.' Carys Bray 

'The Growing Season poses a compelling what-if about the female body, technology and power.' Sarah Ditum, Guardian

'You know when you read the back of a book and your neck hairs go all tingly? This is one of them. . . an inventive tale that'll leave you contemplating what the future holds.' Stylist

'Sedgwick describes her off-kilter world brilliantly and she considers the big ideas in her novel from all sides like a true scientist. . . It's smart and thoughtful writing - a novel to make you consider deeply what family means and what the not-too-distant future might hold.' Big Issue

'One of the most important new writers around.' DIVA

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