The House on the Hill by Eileen Dunlop

The House on the Hill by Eileen Dunlop was published in 1987 and the setting is Glasgow.

Philip is an only child and his father has died recently, his mother is having to leave their home to take up a nursing course so that she can support them both in the future. Although Philip’s parents hadn’t had anything to do with old Aunt Jane who lives nearby his mother has decided that she will have to swallow her pride and ask old Aunt Jane to look after Philip for the duration. Aunt Jane hadn’t even bothered to go to Philip’s father’s funeral and that really rankles, but Aunt Jane agrees to look after Philip, she already has another young relative staying with her. Susan is close to Philip in age, but her father is in Kenya, he’s well-off but uncaring, she goes to a posh private school in Glasgow.

The Mount in Wisteria Avenue is a large mansion, but is very much down at heel as Jane doesn’t have the money or energy to refurbish it, or tackle the rampant garden. It’s a big change for Philip and Susan and although they dislike each other to begin with they warm to each other and start to investigate the old house and its strange quirks. It’s all a bit spooky. At times the past is all too present.

Aunt Jane has had a sad life at the hands of her over-bearing father and until Susan and Philip arrived she was stuck in his ways, but a more rosy future beckons for her.

This was another enjoyable read from this Scottish author who apparently taught at Dollar Academy, near Stirling.


Sexton Blake on the Home Front

The Witch of Blackbird Pond  cover

This is a collection of two novellas. The first one is The Man from Occupied France and was written by Anthony Parsons in 1941.
The book begins with a young woman being sentenced to ten years in jail for passing information on to the Germans. It’s 1941 and Isobel Ensor had been working in an aircraft factory, in charge of the blueprints of all the aircraft designs. She had got the job through a friend that she had met at an organisation which had been set up to promote friendship between Germans and English people, but obviously when war broke out some of the Germans had decided to go home to Germany, as did Isobel’s friend. She gave Isobel a gold watch as a keepsake when she left.

When there was a tip off about the possibility of information having been stolen, Isobel is suspected of being the culprit and when her handbag is searched it’s discovered that the pocket watch which had been a keepsake was actually a small camera. Even then Isobel doesn’t realise that her so-called German friend had set her up.

Isobel’s fiance is determined to clear her name but he just makes matters worse, until Sexton Blake and his side-kick Tinker get involved. This is a really enjoyable thriller, full of atmosphere and suspense, with some humour too.

The second novella is called The House on the Hill and was written by John Drummond in 1945.
Jane Wray lives in a house which is owned by her employer who owns a mill, her mother also lives in the house and Jane’s fiance Jim is their lodger. When the owner of the mill dies his son inherits everything, he’s a violent man with a fierce temper. When there’s a murder Jane is worried that Jim might be involved – and Jim is worried about that too, and so begins a manhunt worthy of John Buchan, with plenty of twists and turns.

I received a digital copy of this book for review from Netgalley. It’s published by Rebellion and edited by Mark Hodder.