SIXTEEN-YEAR-OLD Daniel Dorey comes to a strange little town called Tumblewater, hoping to become a doctor.

Armed with a surgeon's bag filled with equipment and a pressed suit in his case, his dreams are shattered when he realises that the school is nothing but a sham.

He is introduced to a man he only knows as Uncle, who not only helps to find him a place to stay, but introduces him to the town's weird characters.

Each resident he meets has dark and disturbing stories to tell about some of the people of the town, a cold place where it is always raining.

For a children's book, the stories are surprisingly sinister and Gothic and could be suited for older children. These are not fairy tales with happy endings. The stories are gruesome and filled with murder, such as The Man who Taught English Literature, who puts together a monster similar to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein with the help of a grave digger, to impress the only boy in his class who is interested in literature.

The characters are similar to those of Tim Burton's films, Corpse Bride and The Addams Family.

But the themes of some of the stories might be difficult to explain to younger children. The book could be enjoyed by older children looking for something different to what we have come to expect from books aimed at this market.