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The Crack Magazine


Book of the Month: Case Study by Graeme Macrae Burnet

Graeme Macrae Burnet is surely one of the best writers working in the UK today. His second novel ‘His Bloody Project’, about a brutal triple murder in a remote community in the Scottish Highlands in 1869, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2016, and he’s also written two novels featuring the downtrodden detective Georges Gorski (‘The Disappearance of Adele Bedeau’ and ‘The Accident on the A35’), which offered fascinating character studies amid a series of low-key crimes. His latest book begins with him, Graeme Macrae Burnet, delving into the life and work of Collins Braithwaite, a figure who was infamous in the 1960’s “anti-psychiatry movement”. His investigations into Braithwaite manifest themselves in a series of blog posts. And it’s because of these posts that someone gets in touch with him, a Mr Martin Grey, who offers him six notebooks that contain the journal of his cousin, whom Grey claims was a patient of Braithwaite. He also tells him the notebooks contain “certain allegations” he is sure he will find of interest. All this is relayed over the first few pages of the book. The rest of the text intersperses biographical details of Braithwaite’s life, with the actual notebooks. Braithwaite is, of course, an entirely fictional character (Burnet likes to play these little games), but he’s brought to life here in a compelling narrative that had me engrossed right until the last page. RM

Case Study by Graeme Macrae Burnet, Saraband