Simone St. James is one of the best of all modern gothic novelists, and importantly, the ghosts in her books are real, they’re not actually mysterious human strangers hanging around in vacant buildings for nefarious reasons. She combines her ghost stories with cracking good mysteries, an irresistible combination, and unlike practically any other mystery novelist, the characters are pretty much exclusively female. There are a few male characters for sure, but they are more on the window dressing side of things. It’s the ladies that carry the narrative.
Meet D.M. Pulley at the downtown library on Saturday, October 19 at 2 p.m.
This is an honest to god ghost story, inspired by Shirley Jackson’s classic The Haunting of Hill House. It’s guaranteed to give you the shivers. Threading together the stories of several – very tragic –families who have shared the same house from 1922 to the present, the connections move into sharper focus as the book unfolds.
The story opens with the Spielman family, who are making a move from Boston to the wealthy Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights, where they are amazed by the amount of house they can get for their money. While Rawlingswood seems impressive, it’s also a graffiti covered wreck, with stripped pipes and broken windows. The graffiti is more than disturbing, calling the house a “murder house” and referencing dead girls. As Myron and Margot check the place out, Myron gets more and more excited, and Margot, more and more worried. Despite her objections they buy the house and begin to renovate it immediately, where all kinds of things go wrong, spooking the contractors, who eventually refuse to go up into the attic at all.