The Rest is Silence

 DEAF, DUMB…AND DEAD?

Nona O’Carty was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

It was her first visit to England, and it should have been a festive vacation. She was looking forward with delighted anticipation to the royal wedding procession, and then…

She witnessed a brutal and seemingly senseless murder. At the same time, she was struck by a bullet which left her alive – but totally deaf.

She was completely unable to communicate what she knew – and she was not even sure how much she had actually seen and how much she had imagined. She was terribly, dreadfully alone. And there was no place to run – because now the murderer was stalking her, to ensure her silence… forever.

Written by Virginia Coffman.

Lancer Books 1968. Cover art Lou Marchetti.

Just when I thought I’d seen most of what Virginia Coffman has to offer gothic-wise, along comes another one! Of course Deaf, Mute and Dead would be the more politically appropriate, though far less alliterative, by-line for today’s back blurb, but I guess this was 1968.

I’ve had a quick flick through the first couple of chapters – the heroine, Nona, has a golden ticket for a royal wedding and she has travelled to England on a once in a lifetime trip from her hometown in Ireland. She is staying at the ‘little’ Richmond Hill Hotel, and this made me smile, for when my family first moved to the UK, we actually lived in this hotel for a few months – and I remember it as being very, very big! (Though I was quite little myself at the time and buildings do have a habit of shrinking as you get older).

Anyway, along with Behind Locked Shutters and The Twilight Web, this cover gets filed in the ‘shady-looking men wearing shades’ section of my bookcase.

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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hi Sara. This is another Lou Marchetti cover.

    • Thanks Ruben, I’ve updated the post now!
      I thought it might be a Marchetti cover but wasn’t sure – the colours share the same palette as other covers he’s done for Lancer but something about the lack of definition in her features… not sure how to describe it, but the face seems a little ‘soft’ to me whereas a lot of the Marchetti covers I have the women’s features are quite sharply defined. However, I guess this is probably due to the fact that the cover here is from a later edition and the painting isn’t very well reproduced.

  2. I’ve noticed that in Marchetti’s compositions he usually places the house in background, small in comparison to the foreground figures. This is the opposite of many other Gothic romance cover artists, who tended to make the heroine small in comparison to a looming structure in the background.

    • Oh yeah, interesting point, I’ll look out for that! Thanks Charles.

      • … and personally, I prefer the big houses looming in the background, the bigger the house the better!

  3. Hi Sara,

    While Marchetti was certainly skilled, you have to keep in mind that when you’re constantly having to produce these paintings under tight deadline pressure as well as having to do cover after cover of the same basic theme (gothics), anybody would find it hard to put their absolute best efforts into each and every cover.

    Here’s a little tip on how to confirm a gothic cover is by Marchetti. He used one element over and over on his gothic covers, so much so in fact that this element became Marchetti’s “signature” and it is actually fairly rare to find gothics in which he DIDN’T include this element. On the vast majority of his covers, regardless of the color pallette or mood of the scene he was trying to convey, he felt the need to include those very tiny, colorful flowers in the foreground at the bottom of the paintings. Any time you see those flowers, you can bet you’re looking at a Lou Marchetti painting!

    • Thanks Ruben! I’ll look out for those. Now you’ve mentioned it, I’ve seen lots of gothics with just those flowers you have described without making a connection to Marchetti. I love how they add that light splash of colour to an otherwise quite dark, forboding palette. And they’re usually coloured to complement the leading lady’s lipstick and / or nail varnish!


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