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The Door of Death

Samuel Shellabarger

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Writing as John Esteven

Occupants of Greyhouse are slowly and irrevocably being overtaken by an invading current that cannot be expelled. A force that causes a heightening of every mental and sensual power with a corresponding dwindling of all moral scruples. Brrr. Now that's scary.

Dr. Richard Ames is unaware of this danger when he accepts an invitation to visit Greyhouse in order to observe Celia Ballion, it's mistress, who appears to be going crackers. Is it the house that is driving her mad or her husband, Francis Ballion, a handsome man who is also subtle, brilliant, daring, and unscrupulous? Celia's behavior is odd, to be sure, but there are other things that disturb the good doctor more. Dr. Ames begins to find himself affected by the energy of the house which is decorated in the cold and splendid fashion of the Renaissance. There are rare and brutal instruments of torture in the library and a porta del mortuccio, or door of death, in its wall. The Door of Death is reserved for burial purposes and is only wide enough to permit the passage of a coffin as it exits the house. Except on funeral occasions, it was considered fatal to open the door. However, when murder strikes the Ballion family there is evidence that the door of death has been breached. An observation that unlocks a slew of murderous possibilities.

As much a horror story as a mystery, Door of Death, is chillingly sinister. A sure-to-please read for those interested in this genre of the 1930's.

The Door of Death - cover

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