This Old Evil House

She made the strange turquoise house reveal its terrible secret – and found herself  staring into Death’s face……

thisolhouseRuth Ames could hardly believe her good fortune when she and her husband Charles found a house that they could afford. But the turquoise colour was not the only strange thing about the new house. For soon after they moved in, Ruth knew that evil had happened there.

Was there any truth to the frightening stories her neighbors told – stories about the torture that was a grisly part of the house’s past and the murder that had taken place nearby?

At first Ruth tried to ignore their warnings, until one day she felt the icy fingers of fear, and the death that had haunted her home was no longer a chilling tale, but a horror filled reality…..

Written by Laura Frances Brooks (aka W.E.D Ross) , first Ace Printing August 1975.

Hmmmm. Not sure about this one. It starts off promising enough when Ruth and her husband Charles Ames end up with far more than a bargain after purchasing a too cheap hunk of bright blue real estate along the east coast. Soon enough, before you can scream ‘Oi, look behind you!’ there are all manner of  strange happenings and murderous secrets popping out of the antiquated woodwork.

Unfortunately the pace and plot of the story just didn’t cut it for me and I found it difficult to stay sighinvolved in this one. There are some nice gothic touches and hints of phantasmal goings on, with ghostly footsteps in the attic and mysterious scents haunting Ruth’s sleep, but these are overshadowed by the motley, raggle taggle crew that makes up the novel’s supporting characters – believe me these neighbours are weird, and not in a good way; the poor characterisation and stilted dialogue seriously compromise the novel’s credibility. I also found the relationship between Charles and Ruth a little jarring at times and bordering on the abusive.

Our protagonist, Ruth, was likable enough and the writing was at it’s best when focused on her and her ever increasing anxiety when left alone in the house,  solving it’s secrets while edging  ever closer to her own death, and with a little tweaking this could have turned into a rather good murder mystery, but ultimately it was let down by too many unconvincing chacters all vying for attention, overcomplicating the story and draining it of suspense. Also the ending came about far too sudden and as a result was a little unconvincing but by then I was finding it difficult to care. Two out of five stars.