“An inventively plotted, goose-bumps inducing ghost story.” —Booklist
A house with a sinister past—and a grisly power . . .
When Michael Flint is asked by American friends to look over an old Shropshire house they have unexpectedly inherited, he is reluctant to leave the quiet of his Oxford study. But when he sees Charect House, its uncanny echoes from the past fascinate him—even though it has such a sinister reputation that no one has lived there for almost a century. But it’s not until Michael meets the young widow, Nell West, that the menace within the house wakes . . .
“Rayne spins eerie yarns within yarns like a latter-day Isak Dinesen or Wilkie Collins.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A chilling mystery from another era. . . . Once again Rayne delivers.” —Booklist
A gnarled haunted house story spanning centuries makes a promising supernatural venture by crime fiction author Rayne (What Lies Beneath). Literature professor Michael Flint pays a visit to a crumbling old house recently inherited by his friends the Harpers and encounters a terrifying presence. The Harpers' young daughter sees the spirit in her dreams, as does the daughter of recently widowed antiques dealer Nell West. Michael and Nell embark on a harried search through local folklore, moldering records, and the house's mysterious past before the children become part of a decades-old tragedy. Rayne's crisp and fast-paced writing deftly combines sharp characters, obscure legend, the panorama of 20th-century history, subtle romance, and even subtler melancholy, turning the picked-over bones of the haunted house story into something fresh and frequently terrifying. Even an abrupt and too-easy ending doesn't diminish the book's spine-tingling chill, merely leaving readers hungry for a sequel.