Short Story Review: Death in the Dawntime by F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre

This historical whodunnit is set around 35,000 BC, amongst the ancient aboriginal peoples of Australia.

When Grabtake is impossibly murdered in a sealed cave, the young Nightwish is desperate to prove himself.  With the help of Tinglesweet, a girl the same age as Nightwish, they go about trying to solve this murder mystery, analysing the evidence and working systematically through possible theories.

But uncovering a murderer is dangerous.  If they have killed once, what’s to stop them killing again?

I loved this short story.  The language used captivated me from the start and brought to life this locked room mystery set in prehistory.  As I read it I had to pay careful attention to the words to ensure that I didn’t miss anything, but this only heightened my enjoyment of it.

The names of the characters, for example, Nightwish, Rainspeak and Toegone, not only had me concentrating on the language and words, but also on their meaning.

A great short story, one that I’m sure I will return to again.

This short story was found in The Mammoth Book of Historical Detectives, ed Mike Ashley.

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