Sign of Evil
Adela Barron and her mother traveled to Florida to sell the house Papa Barron had lived in as a boy. The house was swarming with gypsies. When Adela tried to learn their customs, she was sharply reprimanded by her stern Aunt Cecile and by the gypsies themselves, including the handsome Django.
Adela was warned never to go to the gypsy camp, but she did, and twice, attemps were made on her life. When she met Dr. Larry Norton she thought her problems were over. Then her mother disappeared. And Adela was sure the gypsies had kidnapped her.
Written by Suzanne Somers. Published by Modern Promotions 1972.
Suzanne Somers is one of the pseudonyms used by Dorothy Daniels, whose Strange Paradise novels I reviewed earlier this year.
In Romany Curse, Adela accompanies her mother on a trip to her late father’s estate in Florida. Adela loves the house but her mother hates the place and is hoping to sell it off and move on as quickly as possible.
Things do not go to plan – Adela’s mother is kidnapped by the local gypsies and Adela finds herself in ever increasing danger from their evil leader Hadari.
It transpires Adela’s father was Hadari’s predecessor, so gypsy law – not to mention squatter’s rights – dictate the house and all of Papa Barron’s money, belongs to them. To seal the deal Adela is forced to marry Hadari.
It all works out happily ever after when Adela and her mother are rescued by the handsome Dr Norton, the disgraced Hadari is forced into exile and the gypsies elect a new leader – Adela’s new best friend, the charming Django.
Romany Curse is not very good and has very little to do with curses of any kind, let alone Romany ones. There is a bit of a story in there somewhere but stylistically there is nothing remotely gothic about its atmosphere or prose. Also, it is supposed to be set in the early 1800’s but the dialogue and overall characterisation is too modern to be convincing and actually gets confusing at times.
On the plus side, Romany Curse is only about 100 pages long, so makes for an easy afternoon’s reading and I do like the artwork. The greenish cast and subject’s wide-eyed expression is somewhat reminiscent of those kitsch, plastic-framed matglo prints we used to win on the bingo stall at the funfair. Two out of five stars.