04 magic
“How far back in time do you want to go? May I come in, Tomas, or are you going to throw the hat to me from an upstairs window? I know how much you Czechs enjoy throwing things from windows.”
Frieda Schoenhofer

Frieda Schoenhofer is dead, murdered in Rotterdam. But for her grief-stricken parents the true story of their daughter is about to begin. The One Rule of Magic is a curious tale of redemption, reflection and coming to terms with past and future lives.

Frieda Schoenhofer is dead, murdered in Rotterdam. For her grief-stricken parents the true story of their daughter’s life is about to begin.

Her father, slowly demolishing the world around him, tries to eradicate painful memories by throwing out his lifelong collection of film memorabilia. Her mother is convinced Frieda has been reincarnated as a new born foal.

But Frieda isn’t dead. She is travelling Europe hoping to rescue her father’s discarded collection. A journey of redemption that takes her to Nice, Prague, Turin and Vienna, where she meets a crooked dealer in antique silverware, joins a funeral party full of mourners who can’t stop laughing, falls in love with a beautiful marionette, and discovers a plan to destroy the legacy of Mozart.

The One Rule of Magic explores Frieda’s attempts to make amends for the crimes of her old life, come to terms with what she has become, and prepare her parents for the bizarre truth surrounding their daughter’s disappearance.


character frieda schoenhofer


With Who Among Us… in the bag I was already setting out the structure of the next novel, There Will Be Blood and a return to the TotenSeries. It took a little known Canadian rock band to derail that idea when Au4’s second album And Down Goes the Sky generated irresistable ideas to continue the story arc of Frieda Schoenhofer, the drifting enigmatic witch from Bamberg.

Occasionally I would refer to the novels as being either TotenLight or TotenDark depending on the amount of humour in them. The Toten Herzen novels were ‘light,’ the Malandanti novels would be ‘dark.’ But Frieda straddled that line, drifting from one to the other in a series of bizarre and sometimes surreal encounters as she hunts for her father’s discarded film collection.

Writing about Frieda was intoxicating, or should that be is intoxicating. Alongside Toten Herzen’s Susan Bekker, Frieda is a key component in how the TotenUniverse will eventually play out. I don’t know what her role will be in that outcome, which means if I don’t know, you can’t guess.

And Frieda Schoenhofer would love that.

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All the novels in the TotenUniverse (except the ninth, Come the Day of Revelation) are available from all booksellers. If you want to read a title in your favourite e-format follow the links below.

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