Setting: Modern Day
The voice was quiet, smiling. "Is this Miss Clarvoe?"
"You know who this is?"
"I have a great many friends," Miss Clarvoe lied.
In the mirror above the telephone stand she saw her mouth repeating the lie, enjoying it, and she saw her head nod a quick affirmation. The lie is true, yes, a very true lie. Only her eyes refused to be convinced. Embarrassed, they blinked and glanced away.
"We haven't seen each other for a long time," the girl's voice said. "But I've kept track of you, this way and that. I have a crystal ball."
"I beg your pardon?"
"A crystal ball that you look into the future with. I've got one. All my old friends pop up in it once in a while. Tonight it was you...Your face is right in front of me, real bright and clear. But there's something wrong with it. Ah, I see now. You've been in an accident. You are mutilated. Your forehead is slashed open, your mouth is bleeding, blood, blood all over...blood all over..."
She was beautiful and evil...she murdered minds as well as bodies.
Beautiful, seductive, deadly Evelyn Merrick is one of the most horribly fascinating heroines in suspense fiction.
Her first victim escaped with her life, but with permanent scars left on her mind.
The second she drove to suicide.
The third she killed with her bare hands.
The fourth she reserved a punishment that was far worse than murder...
I'm not going to go into great depth with this review because, frankly, this book is more a cozy murder mystery than it is a gothic romance. Though published in 1955 by Bantam Gothic, this book is more of a psychological thriller. The story-line switches from character to character (which usually drives me crazy but was endearing enough in this book). True, there is a degree of horror. There are murders committed by a sick and twisted mind. For a long duration of the book, you're almost certain who the killer is...however, the twist at the end really throws you a punch. Honestly, I never even suspected the true killer, nor their motive. This is a quick-paced, horrific read if you can get past the changing perception from character to character. There is no romance, as this is a psychological thriller that administers the multiple personality variety. But enjoyable enough to recommend to fans of horror or mystery. Back in the day, this book was well-accepted and highly acclaimed, it even earned the author the Edgar Allen Poe award.
ALTERNATE COVER ART: