Phosphate Rocks: A Death in Ten Objects by Fiona Erskine

A brilliant book with a perfect mix of mystery, science, facts and great characters!

I was kindly gifted an advanced copy of this by Sandstone Press in order to take part in the blog tour and in exchange for an honest review.

Phosphate Rocks by Fiona Erskine
275 Pages
Out 17th June

During the demolition of a factory, a shocking discovery is made: a mummified corpse encased in a carapace of hardened dust – phosphate rock – surrounded by ten objects that provide tantalising clues as to its identity…


Rating: 5 out of 5.

This is a hard book to put into just one category…whilst at the heart of it there is a dead body and a mystery to solve, it’s also full of brilliant side stories and plenty of science!

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve never been too keen on science but the way Fiona explains each of the elements, processes and chemicals used in the fertiliser plant was fascinating and very easy for even me to understand.

I loved the layout of this book as chapters are split into each of the ten objects and each one has a different story to tell thanks to the help of the main character John. Each of these stories I enjoyed so much. You got to take a glimpse into the inner workings of the Leith Fertiliser plant and the lives of these men and women who keep everything running efficiently despite the dangers that come with the job.

Despite only being introduced to some characters briefly, such as Polly, I grew attached to all of them and I think Fiona did such a brilliant job of linking each part and characters together.

Another great fact about this book is that Fiona has first hand experience of working at a fertiliser plant so all her knowledge is spot on and she even details at the end that all but one of the events described in the book took place during her working life as a chemical engineer which just made those stories and people even more fantastic.

Overall this is completely different to anything I’ve read before but I’m so glad I did. It was interesting, factual, full of mystery, delightful characters and one I would definitely read again.

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