Halloween always makes me turn to my favourite spooky romantic suspense books. Treasured old paperbacks, worn hardbacks their pages yellowed with age, and I’ve even a few more modern ones tucked away in my erearder.
Daphne du Maurier is one of my all time favourite romantic suspense authors and while I think most people would mention Rebecca if asked for a ghostly example of her books, it wouldn’t be mine. Despite the fact that the first Mrs. de Winter seems to haunt every corner of Manderlay with the sinister Mrs. Danvers not far behind, I would choose Jamaica Inn over Rebecca any day as the spookier novel.
The opening coach ride to Bodmin moor, the vicar at Altarnun and of course, Joss Merlyn, sent shivers down my spine. But it’s du Maurier’s masterfulness at imagery that really sets the scene:
There’s something creepy about department stores when they’re closed. I don’t know if it’s the mannequins, the emptiness or the silence, but The Red Carnelian by Phyllis A. Whitney grabs me every time I read it.
I still have the paperback copy I was given as a teenager. At the time I didn’t realize that it was written in 1943. It featured an independent heroine with an interesting job (a copy writer for a department store), which I imagined would be me in a few years time, and may have singularly been the reason my first full time job was for a department store.
Whitney’s style is completely different to du Maurier’s but no less impactful. I can still hear Sondo playing her phonograph today, even though it never played a note beyond those pages.
It would be remiss of me not include something with witches in Halloween post, so I’m going to mention Nora Roberts and the Three Sisters Island trilogy. I first came across the books on a podcast on the Smart Bitches Trashy Books website (A word to the wise if you’re addicted to buying books don’t listen to it. I always end up buying something, but never once have I been disappointed.) and was hooked from the very first book, Dance Upon the Air.
Even if, like me and you’re not a particular fan of the paranormal genre, Roberts does such an awesome job at weaving an intricate tale that you can suspend your disbelief at the first page and just enjoy the suspenseful romance.
Whatever you’re reading this weekend I hope you have a spooktacular Halloween!