Burke & Hare - Martin Conaghan and Will Pickering (3 stars)

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Burke & Hare by Martin Conaghan and Will Pickering

(Vigil/Insomnia)

A delve into Edinburgh’s sinister past seems to fit the tradition of period ghost stories for Christmas, though of course the tale of Burke and Hare is all too real. Perhaps the most important aspect of their history which writer Martin Conaghan clears up is that the pair were never grave robbers, but serial killers who prowled the streets of Edinburgh in 1828 preying on the weak then selling their bodies to medical science.

This comic is a shadowy tale of greed and violence that sticks rigorously to the facts, with any deviations or flights of fancy catalogued in the expansive appendix (which is perhaps a little too expansive). Will Pickering’s art may seem simplistic at first glance but actually matches the tone perfectly with well-researched and realised depictions of 19th century Edinburgh. A creepy history lesson that suits these long winter nights.

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