House of Darkness by Allan MacKinnonThere is a popular and not ill-founded belief that, if you really want to start something, Cairo is the place to do it. And certainly this story starts in Cairo, on the terrace of the Continental Hotel, on a sweltering Friday night in June.
In Allan MacKinnons House of Darkness (1947), Colin Ogilvie is on his way back to Britain to (reluctantly) return to civilian life after being demobbed at the end of the war. Hes taken the long way round, spending time as a deckhand on a fishing smack, working his way though other odd jobs, and ending with a stint on an archaeological dig before landing Cairo. Hes finally convinced himself to head back to seek a teaching position when he runs into his old friend Jerry Gray on the Continental Terrace. Thats when life got interesting for Olgilvie again.
...there was something in his voice--a sense of strain almost--that made Colin look up sharply. Was he imagining things or had the atmosphere become suddenly tense?
Gray manages to subtly let Olgivie know that hes being watched and overheard and the two work a strategy so Gray can pass a message to be taken back to England. They play at old comrades in arms who have to part and leave the terrace together--apparently exchanging reminiscences, to cover the real message.
...get hold of Sir Alan Drexter at the Home Office....Give him the message personally. My normal line of communication has been tapped. Theyre on to me, and Im going lay off for a while.
He follows up with specifics of a meeting he has observed and the players involved. When the swarthy individual who has been trailing them pops up at Colins elbow, they make a hearty farewell with promises to meet up when Jerry gets leave at Christmas. Unfortunately, that it isnt to be. Jerrys body is fished out of the Nile River the next morning while Colin is winging his way back to England.
Unaware of Jerrys fate, Colin convinces himself that his friend had, as he was wont to do during the war, been over-dramatizing the situation. Hell pass along the message, as promised, but it surely cant be as urgent as Jerry let on, so he heads to his club first to get settled and have a shower after the long flight. During the ten minutes or so that hes out of his room, somebody (or bodies) comes along and thoroughly searches and ransacks it. Its obvious they were looking for something in particular--thats when Colin decides maybe old Jerry wasnt dramatizing after all. And Captain Stevens, the club secretary, is a bit concerned that Colin may be mixed up in something quite dangerous.
Tell me, though, is it likely to happen again? I mean, they wont come back and shoot you, or anything, will they? Its not that I object personally, but some of the older members--
Obviously, the message is urgent and Colin does his best to deliver as promised. But Drexter is out cruising along the west coast of England in his yacht and his deputy, Colonel Stanley is also quite plainly not answering his phone.
Things were happening--things violent, illegal, and mysterious--and he could do nothing about it because two blasted civil servants werent there when he wanted them.
After several brushes with ruffians of all sorts, running into (quite literally) Stanelys rather beautiful ward, discovering that Stanley has been kidnapped, a quick confab with Scotland Yard and various top-secret Johnnies associated with the Home Office, tracking Drexter down, learning that Stanley has quite probably been smuggled off to a foreboding Scottish castle (the titular house), discovering a plot that threatens the British way of life, killing one villain in self-defense and being accused of murdering another in cold blood, and various other adventures too intricate to relate, Colin feels that hes had rather a full schedule since first landing back in England.
I dont know just what we may be running into, Ogilvie, but Ive got a hunch that its pretty big. Keep both eyes open, dont trust the Archangel Gabriel till youve seen his warrant card, and--good luck!
Naturally, the good guys come out on top and theres a rather exciting final adventure before a quick twist at the end reveals who is the real the villainous brains behind the dastardly deeds. This, quite honestly, is the most fun Ive had reading a mad-dash, mystery thriller in a long time. Even though I had never heard of Allan MacKinnon before, I snatched it right up when I saw this near-fine Dell Mapback edition sitting at my favorite used bookstore--just waiting for me. What a delight to find such a cracking good yarn with engaging characters, apt descriptions, and humorous dialogue. I have a feeling MacKinnon had a great deal of fun putting this story together and it translates to plenty of enjoyment for the reader. A definite surprise favorite for March--and it may just turn out to be the overall favorite for the year.
First posted on my blog My Readers Block. Please request permission before reposting. Thanks.
House Of Darkness (TV Movie 2016) Best Lifetime Movies 2016 Full English
Is 'House Of Darkness' A True Story? The Lifetime Movie Will Scare You No Matter What
Lifetime Channel 2016 - House Of Darkness - Best LifeTime Movies
Sign in. Stars on the purple carpet at the Emmys decide which TV show characters would make great superheroes or supervillains , and more. Watch now. Inspired by actual events, this thriller unravels the mystery of a single mother who believes a shocking family tragedy was caused by dangerously dark forces. Aylwood is a distraught mother since her daughter, Karen, vanished in the Welsh countryside 30 years ago. When the Carstairs family move into the Aylwood manor for the summer.
Lifetime's original thrillers tend to depict the horrors that can be lurking around the corner in everyday situations. Rarely do they venture into the supernatural — why would they, when real life can be so terrifying? However, this week's movie is a notable exception, incorporating the other worldly element that made movies like The Conjuring and The Amityville Horror so terrifying. House Of Darkness is Lifetime's answer to all of those films that made you scared to turn the lights off at night, and it might be the network's creepiest offering yet. The kicker?
Cut to the present, as married couple Kelly Sara Fletcher and Brian Gunner Wright explain to their marriage counselor that they are moving out of the city and into the country to work on their problems. It turns out that Brian is not, in fact, over his jealousy issues, signaled by his immediate scowl once he sees Kelly waving at the sexy new neighbor and her always-shirtless boyfriend. In a pet funeral scene, the camera cuts back to momentarily catch him with a genuinely unsettling simulacrum of a comforting smile pasted on his face. House Of Darkness is clearly going for a Shining vibe as the family man is transformed by the, well, house of darkness. As for Kelly, Fletcher, too, is stuck playing out an under-imagined type, in her case the beleaguered perfect wife. If something startles her, she will let out a little yip. Even her position as the sole sensible one amidst the spooky goings-on in the house is undermined by how uncurious she is when, say, she finds a smoldering hunk of unidentifiable meat in her new stove and responds with a mildly distressed shrug before tossing it into the bin.