Reading of " The Secret of Crickley Hall".
January 24, 2008 10:33pm CST
James Herbert's latest horror. The Secret of Crickley Hall.The Secret of Crickley Hall is being published as a classic ghost story, and indeed there are ghouls in every cupboard,but in reality it's a camp haunted-house chiller straight out of Hammer Horror,complete with spectacular lighting effects and creaking cast-iron chandelier. Gabe and Eve Caleigh are trying to start a new life after a terrible incident in which their five-year-old son has disappeared. They see fit to relocate themselves and their daughters to a rain-swept house in a Devonshire ravine named Devil's Cleave:"a tomb of a place.A mausoleum"featuring" dark louring skies", vast galleried hall, and a gothic leopard's head of a door knocker. What a surprise to us all, when the activities in said mansion make the Bates Motel look like a sunny little bungalow. Even the lovable family mutt freaks out and the ghosties play up on the very first night. Paranormal events become a daily and ,naturally, nightly component of life in the new house:mysterious pools of water appear, noises escalate, cupboard doors are vigorously rattled,and apparitions begin trooping through the light motes. More prosaically there is Gabe's new job to contend with, schoolgirl bullying from the local pram-face,and neighbours' hushed hints of horrors past. It turns out that during the second world war, the village was decimated by a flood. Crickley Hall was home to a group of poor orphans evacuated from London to live in spooksville under the care of a sadistic Augustus Cribben, who terrorised, starved and beat them. The orphans were seemingly washed away by the flood and now their lost spirits haunt the hall, pursued by the monstrous figure of Cribben. Eve's overwhelming grief for their son Cam leads to dreams about him and an attempt to trace him through a spiritualist. As the connections between the hall's history and its haunted house-style activities multiply,the twists become twistier,and mortal as well as paranormal surprises come tumbling out: one of the protagonists wasn't drowned after all, and is alive, well and evil down at the local boozer, for instance. Something must give, and give it does.
• United States
28 Jan 08
Oooh, this sounds like a good read. I read james James Herbert awhile back. I think it was called "The Magic Cottage". It moved a little slow, but mainly kept the reader's interest. I have lists I keep of authors to read and invariably lose the lists. You did a nice job of summarizing the book by the way.