Piggy Monk Square

| October 2, 2015


Piggy Monk Square: Gripping Suspense Thriller


A policeman faces a grim death in a Liverpool inner city cellar. Only two little girls know where he is but they’re too scared to tell. Time is running out for the policeman. Will the girls get help before it’s too late?

Piggy Monk Square is a dark yet frequently very funny novel set in 1970’s Liverpool. The action takes place in the volatile period before the Toxteth riots burned much of the inner city down.


This unusual yet very readable British thriller describes a world tainted with deep mistrust and hostility between the local people and the police force. This harsh world is viewed through the eyes of a nine-year-old girl, Rebecca.

Rebecca’s world is changing. Her parents are fighting. Her teachers are cruel. She doesn’t know what to do and turns to her best friend Debbie more and more.

But Debbie’s life is just as tough. With a father who is always dodging the police, and a mother who works her to the bone, Debbie is no Cinderella. The world these girls inhabit is no fairy tale, it is confusing and can be brutally violent.


No wonder the girls mix reality with fantasy – it’s how they survive, especially when it comes to coping with what will soon become their terrifying secret. A secret that will infuse their childhood with fear and change their lives forever.

The nightmare begins when Rebecca and Debbie are playing in the cellar of a derelict house. A policeman catches them there and warns them not to return to this dangerous old building. But they are both determined little girls with nowhere else to play, so they come back, again and again. Unfortunately for them so does the policeman.

The policeman tries to chase the girls away, but he falls down a ladder and goes ‘asleep.’ The girls try to wake him but can’t. They want to get help but at the same time they know they shouldn’t have been playing in that cellar. They have learned not to trust the police and are so afraid of getting into trouble that they leave the injured policeman alone.


Wishful thinking makes the girls hope that he will get up and go of his own accord and that everything will be okay again. But when they return and find him still there, conscious but unable to move they find another way to help him. A way that doesn’t involve adults. But, their interpretation of ‘helping’ the dying policeman has terrible consequences for them all.


A stunningly well-written novel. I didn’t want it to end. Tense, joyous, terrifying, comic, tender, magic and tragic – just like childhood itself.’

-Willy Russell

‘Piggy Monk Square is unbearably tense and utterly believable. The voice of its young heroine is so beguiling and convincing that you feel that you’ve met her…The story forces you to share her terrible secret. Like the last piece of a jigsaw puzzle: illuminating and satisfying.’

-Frank Cottrell Boyce

‘Nine-year-old Rebecca, chirpy as her nickname, “Sparra”, is the lively narrator of this disturbing child’s-eye view of 1970s Toxteth, over which the spectres of poverty and police brutality hang… Grown-ups don’t listen to the likes of Sparra. The punch leaves you gasping.’

-Rachel Hore – The Guardian

‘A gripping, intriguing page-turner which bears testimony to the craft of Jolliffe… One of its most appealing facets is the authentic use of language which at times mirrors the first person appeal in Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident Of the Dog in the Night Time. Grace’s Liverpool childhood has helped her create a truly believable character in her book. It’s also laced with some wry scouse humour too.’

-Mike Chapple – Daily Post


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