Smithers & Wing by Heather Palmer, Kirsty Hunter

Heather Palmer and Kirsty Hunter blend exquisite artwork with action-packed writing in their first Smithers and Wing graphic novel

Book Review by Heather McDaid | 28 Jun 2021
  • Smithers and Wing
Book title: Smithers & Wing
Author: Heather Palmer, illustrated by Kirsty Hunter

Flora Smithers and August Wing are partners in life, and in supernatural crime solving. The former is a magician ousted from the old guard, the latter a detective striking out on her own; together, they’re battling those that haunt the streets of Edinburgh.

Compact in size yet sprawling in scope, Heather Palmer and Kirsty Hunter follow the story of missing student Catriona Hewitt under mysterious, potentially supernatural circumstances. All the while, they artfully lay the groundwork of a magical realm and thread in the wives’ own complicated and dramatic pasts across times and worlds, and how they’ve come to this moment. They blend genres from crime and supernatural, to shades of explosive action, all while subverting the easy trap tropes that can often diminish such stories.

Hunter’s artwork is exquisite, from the details to the colour and the sheer tone set, each atmospheric and enthralling whether a haunting green lull in a corridor, to a fiery fight that sees glass shattered. Palmer’s writing is action-packed but authentic, building layers around the core story that make it feel all the richer – pacy, but never rushed.

First in the series, it is a slim volume of a graphic novel, but pulls no punches in launching the duo – bold and brilliant. Combining the dual talents of Palmer and Hunter is a masterstroke; Smithers and Wing aren’t the only formidable pair in town.

The cover of 'Smithers & Wing' - two women embrace while stood in the centre of a circle of candles and inscriptions.

Independent Publishing Network, 30 Jun, £12