Friday, February 29, 2008

A Question of Time by Helen McCloy

Details: First published 1971; cover shown is the Victor Gollancz (UK) first edition dust jacket. 191p.

Bought for $7 at an antiques store in Maldon.

Blurb: "In 1960 Lisa, 13 years old and orphaned, makes her first trip to the United States, to the Boston home of her father's family. On her first night at the Holland house she is driven into hysterics by the beautiful and seemingly unsinister ballroom. What terrified her? She cannot say. But when she returns to the States for a second visit 10 years later, and is locked in the ballroom as a practical joke, her anguish is even more extreme - and this time she dies there. Yet her terror is only a contributory cause of her death: she is in fact the victim of a most ingenious and complex murder, a murder which has its motive in the present but its inspiration and method in the past."

Verdict: I really enjoyed this. In Through a Glass, Darkly McCloy used the theme of the doppelgänger to great effect, and in this novel she has used déjá vu (what the French call 'beyond forgetfulness') to create just the right amount of tension. Anything to do with the mind draws me in, simply because it all seems to be within the realms of possibility.

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