Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"Sable in the Rain" by W.E.B. Ross

Published:  1970
Setting:  Modern

Young, vivacious Erica Blake is content with her simple job and college-girl life, and especially with her romantic promises from Bruce Cord whom has recently decided to forego his studies in hopes of becoming a successful businessman.  However, soon after an exclusive party given by some rather famous people and entrepreneurs (one being the famous actress Belinda French) Bruce stops communicating altogether.  With the detective skills of a few mutual friends, Erica comes to realize that Bruce seems to have mysteriously vanished!

Desperate to figure out where Bruce is and why he might be avoiding her, Erica takes over the position of Secretary to the beautiful Belinda French, the same position Bruce was said to have abandoned.  Her job proves less than glamorous as the mystery of Bruce's disappearance is deepened by a two similar experiences (twenty years ago Belinda's fiance went overboard on her luxury ship and was speculated to have drowned, though no body was ever found, and just five years earlier another of Belinda's love interests disappeared under mysterious circumstances).

Erica begins to suspect that Belinda's lawyer, whom seems eerily devoted and in love with Belinda, might have something to do with the disappearances.  Yet, there's also the jealous, desperately unpleasant-looking sister who appears to be deranged with jealousy and contempt for her beautiful, successful sister.  Then there's the grotesque obsession Belinda has with the love song she shared with hear dead fiance and she insists on playing it over and over so much so that the record has become warped with time.  Erica becomes even more frightened when a ghost begins to appear to her, and although she's warned away she feels she must stay and uncover the disappearance of her close friend.

The more Erica delves into the mystery at The French House, the more in danger she puts the risk of losing her own life to the mystery.  A killer stalks the grounds, a killer hell-bent on preventing Belinda from ever loving another...and it's a killer no one suspects!

This was a shorter gothic (only 95 pages or so), and was rather flat.  There was one great mystery:  the disappearance of three men, Erica's friend being the most recent.  The beginning of the book was so rushed it seemed highly unlikely that things could ever unfold as they did, yet once the book moved to the setting of The French House, it moved quite smoothly.  I also didn't feel there was much 'meat and bone's to the mystery, nor much motive for the murders, that was never made clear.  All in all, I did enjoy this read.  It had a good, creepy setting and kept my interest well enough.  I wouldn't say this is one of the author's strong works, but it's readable.

Rating:  3 Stars

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