06 necromancy
“Daughter? The Human Cannonball is your daughter. . . . That must have been a tricky childbirth.”
Frieda Schoenhofer

Inspired by her success in reversing the effects of an exorcism Frieda attempts to raise the dead. Her intention is revenge, but after a chance encounter she comes to believe there may be other benefits to immortality.

Frieda Schoenhofer is very much alive after being murdered in Rotterdam and obsessed with an unusual form of revenge: resurrection.

Before she can carry out her plan she must first understand the mechanics of life and death. She embarks on an odyssey that takes her to Cornwall, Luxembourg, Avignon and back home to Bamberg where her mother is convinced Frieda needs psychiatric help.

She meets a biologist whose father took a brewing secret to the grave, teaches a hopeless human cannonball to fly, visits a re-enactment group in the midst of a feminist insurrection and helps a genealogist grapple with a treacherous family legacy.

Followed by a mysterious woman called Metze who may or may not hold the key to eternal life, Frieda struggles to understand and control mortality. The Fine Art of Necromancy is a study of perseverance in the face of inexplicable obstacles.

The book also contains a short story, The Miller’s Daughter, which explains Metze’s mysterious origins and her relationship to Frieda.



Many years ago I wrote a novel called Headshrinkers. It was a series of three short stories connected by a fourth in which a group of characters come alive and murder their author. A lethal example of piercing the fourth wall!

When I think about the character of Frieda Schoenhofer I begin to wonder if it’s possible for a witch who beguiles the people around her to beguile her author as well. It makes me sound like a crackpot, but Frieda has that effect on me. The charming innocence that can flip without warning into murderous vengeance (as Michaeli Sbarriota found out in The One Rule of Magic) offers so much license to have fun with Frieda.

The Fine Art of Necromancy has the difficult job of continuing Frieda’s journey into a new nocturnal existence at the same time as maintaining the search she embarked on at the beginning of Who Among Us… The necromancy in question is the raising of Lena Siebert-Neved, her Bamberg precursor.

Frieda’s story isn’t complete without weird encounters, and the world of spiritualism, circuses and history is ripe fruit in an exploration of the afterlife and how death can be reversed. If she finds the answer Frieda will have an advantage beyond measure. A living goddess, or should that be an undead goddess?

That’s assuming I control the story. You just never know with some of these pesky characters.

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