Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Pavilion - Hilda Lawrence

First published 1946; cover shown is the 1984 Penguin Books paperback edition. Cover art by Jeffrey Smith; cover design by Neil Stuart.

20-something, newly orphaned Regan Carr arrives, shabby suitcase in hand, at the huge house in the city. She has come to live with her rich cousin Hurst Herald, who she has only met once before, when she was six years old.

She arrives at the house to find a wreath on the door and a dead man laid out in the front room: Hurst has died the day before. Begrudgingly put up in a tiny, freezing room by Hurst's much older widow, Regan slowly begins to make some friends: the two elderly servants Katy and Jenny, and Hurst's younger brother Fray.

Fray persuades Regan to help him sort through Hurst's private papers, and she soon realises he has an ulterior motive. Not only does Fray think Hurst died an unnatural death, he also believes three other sudden deaths in their family - stretching back decades - were also murders.

Regan appears to hold the key to unmasking the killer. During her weeks long visit with Hurst as a child, she saw and heard much more than she consciously remembers, and it is up to Fray - and Regan herself - to uncover the memories and end the reign of an insane killer.

Hilda Lawrence (1906 - 1976) wrote only a handful of novels, all in the mid to late 1940s.

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