What Abigail Did That Summer
It is the summer of 2013 and Abigail Kamara has been left to her own devices. This might, by those who know her, be considered a mistake. While her cousin, police constable and apprentice wizard Peter Grant, is off in the sticks chasing unicorns, Abigail is chasing her own mystery. Teenagers around Hampstead Heath have been going missing but before the police can get fully engaged, the teens return home - unharmed but vague about where they've been. Aided only by her new friend Simon, her knowledge that magic is real, and a posse of talking foxes that think they're spies, Abigail must venture into the wilds of Hampstead to discover who is luring the teenagers and more importantly - why?
Reviewed on 17th April 2021
This Rivers of London novella is set a good few years ago, and it was a bit of a mental leap for me to place it correctly in the timeline of the stories, as well as the timeline of the real world. Abigail is the cousin of usual main character Peter Grant, and for this story we join her and her friends as she investigates mysterious goings on around Hampstead Heath.
It’s a great short novel, mixing a lot of character work and social commentary on top of a somewhat creepy plot.
I’m a big fan of the way that Aaronovitch writes his characters and their narration. Although I’m probably not the best judge, his writing feels to me as if it has an authenticity that exceeds that of many other authors. I’m also grateful and amused by the footnotes that attempt to explain the slang. It seems clear that the author has put a lot of effort into researching everything.
An enjoyable aside, as are all the shorter tales in this universe, which just makes me want a new full-length novel even more.