In 1950s Hollywood, an actress is haunted by a bookseller’s death: A novella from the Edgar Award-winning author of Give Me Your Hand.
In 1953, Penny is just another washed-up, wannabe Hollywood actress who is past her prime. She has settled in to a quiet lifestyle, and when she finds a low-rent bungalow in Canyon Arms, it’s a dream come true; Penny takes to the place instantly.
But the dream cottage with its French doors and tiled courtyard may not be as perfect as it seems. Penny’s new neighbors start filling her head with stories about past tenants, whispering voices, and a suicide that may not have been a suicide at all. Soon enough, Penny starts hearing strange noises and she can’t help but wonder about the true fate of the bookseller who died in her home a dozen years earlier. Her suspicions are only fueled by the ominous inscription that she discovers in a book that’s closely guarded by her landlord . . .
From the national bestselling author of Dare Me and other thrillers, this is a spooky mystery set on the dark fringes of glamorous Los Angeles.
The Bibliomysteries are a series of short tales about deadly books, by top mystery authors.
An enjoyable filler read tackled inbetween a couple of longer books and my first encounter with author Megan Abbott.
Creepy, atmospheric, Hollywood, romance, a spurned woman, lodgings with a history, death, loss, haunted dreams, visions, noises, a suspicious landlady, stories from neighbours, and more.
Very moody, very unsettling. I was never quite sure what was real and what was Penny's imagination.
Great setting with the placing and time frame of the story. Inequality between the sexes features - power and control. Not sure how much has changed in the past 60-odd years, judging by the recent #MeToo movement. I don't think that was the main focus of the story, but it kind of stuck with me.
I wouldn't say I loved this one. I'm never quite sure with physchological dramas whether I'm on the same page as the author and I'm a bit too OCD to enjoy too much ambiguity in my reading.
Overall - 3.5 from 5
I definitely need to read more from Megan Abbott. Something I've probably been saying for ten years.
Read - June, 2021
Published - 2015
Page count - 36
Source - Freebie from publisher Mysterious Press
Format - ePUB read on laptop