Monday, October 23, 2017

Spooky book cover: "Witch House"

(Another "Witch" book, following Friday's post.)

  • Title: Witch House
  • Author: Evangeline Walton (1907-1996)
  • Cover artist: Ralph Brillhart1 (1924-2007)
  • Publisher: Monarch Books (#264)
  • Cover price: 35 cents
  • Year of this edition: 1962
  • Original publication date: 1945 (through Arkham House)
  • Pages: 159
  • Format: Paperback
  • Front-cover blurb: "They Were Forced To Live In A House Saturated With Evil"2
  • Back-cover excerpt: "The will, conceived in hatred, demanded that Elizabeth Stone and two male cousins occupy Witch House for an allotted time in order to inherit a fortune."
  • Back-cover spoiler: The plot includes a giant, black rabbit with some sort of D&D style Blink powers.
  • Dedication: "To my Quaker Grandmother a staunch believer in this book and to 'Tuneless Thomas' who was a kind of collaborator"
  • First sentence: There was a quiet, informal dignity about Dr. Gaylord Carew's office on West Forty-fifth Street.
  • Last sentence: "The boat is waiting to take us to the mainland, Elizabeth."
  • Random section from middle: "But I liked chickens. I was horrified at the idea of killing one."
  • Rating on Goodreads: 3.45 stars (out of 5.0)
  • A Goodreads review excerpt: Luce Cronin writes: "This is a really creepy book; it really gets into your head. The story is one of identity projection and possession and the antagonist in the story draws on known mystical principles from the Tibetan tradition."
  • Notes: Evangeline Walton was the pen name of Evangeline Wilna Ensley, who was born into a Quaker family in Indianapolis. She is pictured here (at right) around age 29. Her inspirations included L. Frank Baum, Lord Dunsany, Algernon Blackwood, Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, and John Cowper Powys, with whom she had an ongoing correspondence for many years. ... One of Walton's best-known works is a four-novel retelling of the mythological Welsh story of the Mabinogion. You can learn more about that series in this excellent 2012 post by Scott Lazerus on Worlds Without End (a website where you could fall down a deep rabbit hole). ... Witch House has been published in many editions over the years. You can see a full list at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Its first publication was in 1945, as the famed Arkham House's first original full-length novel, and it did not sell well, though it has been mostly well-regarded by critics over the years.

1. Ralph Brillhart artwork was also featured in this January 2017 Papergreat post.
2. Studies over the years have proven that it's healthier to live in a house with Unsaturated Evil. Saturated Evil is bad, and Trans-saturated Evil, especially the industrial-made stuff, is the worst. Also, watch out for Partially Hydrogenated Evil.

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