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Glasdrum by Fiona MacBain | Berg’s Book Club

Glasdrum by Fiona Macbain Book Cover

Book Title: Glasdrum
Author: Fiona Macbain
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Mystery
Published: April 2017
Star Rating: ★★★★


I know this is a little late – I had someone reverse into my car (more on that on Friday). So, as you can imagine, today has been a little hectic, but it’s a cut and dry case. I wasn’t even in my car, so can’t be to blame. Anyway, welcome to the first of Berg’s Book Club. Today, I will be reviewing Fiona Macbain’s Glasdrum.

Fiona has grown as a writer since her first book, Daughter, Disappeared and I enjoyed the read. It’s got a Desperate Housewives feel to it, mixed with Sherloc Holmes and Agatha Christie. Every second of the book kept me engaged.

Glasdrum by Fiona MacBain
Book Review

Previously, I reviewed Daughter Disappeared, which was Macbain’s first book. And to be fair, it was decent. Some rookie mistakes, but things that you’d expect. This book shows how much Macbain has developed and honed her writing skills. A good use of narrative structure, with unique characters that stand out. Macbain is also good at creating tention and suspense. Really good book.


One town. Five women. Dark events.

Life is not easy for the women of Glasdrum…

A skeleton is unearthed, too many walkers are falling to their deaths off mountain cliffs, and the local pub doesn’t know how to make a decent raspberry daiquiri. …

… The women battle through daily life while the spectre of death looms over the town. Could one of them be living with a killer?

Writing Style

The writing style is third person limited. Third person limited is when a story is told using the he/she pronouns but is able to give a sense of what the character is thinking and feeling.

So, MacBain uses third person limited, but from the point of view of several characters, rather than one. And it works really well.

The book is a mystery novel from the point of view of several female characters, all of whom are unhappy with their current lifestyle.

Each of the characters feel that their friends lives are better than their own. They express desires to have the lives of their friends. Not realising that each of the women have problems of their own.

I get a Desperate Housewives feel to this book. A group of four or five women gossiping about their neighbours, or the missing friend… while at the same time keeping secrets from the group. It is definitely Desperate Housewives and I love that show.

MacBain is able to show more than tell in this book, which always good. As little exposition as possible is always a sign of good storytelling.


All the characters are unique and stand out. MacBain is great at differentiating between her characters. The only issue I had was the naming of two characters. Lewis and Louise.

During my screenwriting class and my modules in creative writing, I learned that naming characters a similar name can cause confusion and this emphasised it. Especially as Louise and Lewis were both minor characters, so whenever they popped up, I would occasionally mix them up.

The story starts when one of the protagonists, Megan, finds bones in her garden that she believes belongs to her father; she wants to find out what happened to him, but with family complications and the prospect of a serial killer in town, obstacles are in her way.

Her brother’s girlfriend, Sarah has moved to Glasdrum with him and is drawn into the drama, along with Megan’s friends, Vicky and Finella.

I love the character growth of the characters too. Finella and Sarah both start off as weak characters, both for different reasons. However, as they deal with the mist murderer, family problems and the bones found in Megan’s garden, they both become stronger and Finella is able to start a new life – even though it gives her a case of depression at first. It is not clear what happens to Sarah, but it can be assumed that she too gets a new beginning.

Vicky is also an interesting character, dealing with a secret of her own. Afraid of judgement and her past, the added drama takes a strain on her that her real issue is Finella’s husband, Alex, who tried but failed to seduce her.


MacBain is good at keeping the mystery, not letting anyone know if there really is a mist murder in town or what happened to Megan’s dad. There are also some surprising plot twists. MacBain uses the plot twists to develop the story, rather than using it just for the sake of using it and I love it. Most of the plot twists happen to Megan and therefore make Megan the main protagonist out of the three.

Most of the plot twists happen to Megan and this, therefore, makes Megan the main protagonist out of the three. This illustrates that Megan is often kept in the dark compared to the other characters. Due to Megan’s personality and her inability to keep a secret if it emotionally affects her, it is believable that there would be a lot that Megan would not be made aware of.

The book contains strong themes of sexual abuse but the effects and trauma are shown realistically.

Overall thoughts

I believe that Fiona has developed as a writer, which is shown in contrast to her first book, Daughter Disappeared. There is much less exposition, the characters are unique from one another and the flow of the story is right on point. I would love to read some of the books she posts in the future!

Before you go

If you enjoyed this post, then please do read some other book reviews on here. I recommend the following:

But if none of those take your fancy, do click Berg’s Book Club on the menu to find other book reviews. And please do follow Little Sea Bear on facebook or twitter ~Shannon~



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6 responses to “Glasdrum by Fiona MacBain | Berg’s Book Club”

  1. I usually don’t enjoy psychological thrillers but this plot seems interesting, and i’ve heard a lot of good things from her previous book “DAUGHTER, DISAPPEARED”.
    Nice post 🙂

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