It is 1919, just after the close of World War I, and a desperate Kitty Weekes fabricates recommendation letters to obtain a position as a nurse at a remote mental hospital outside of London. Specializing in treating war-ravaged soldiers, the spooky Portis House with its crumbling walls, ancient plumbing, and drafty rooms is as full of secrets as Kitty. There Kitty meets Jack Yates, the enigmatic Patient 16 who is a magnificent war hero hidden from the public. Together they struggle to unravel the mysteries of the horrific happenings at Portis House. Complete with the low-hanging fog that permeates the pages of most gothic mysteries, RITA Award-winning St. James's (The Haunting of Maddy Clare) latest book immediately draws the reader into its creepy grasp, enthralling as it unsettles, with ghostly occurrences, terror, and puzzlement. VERDICT Aficionados of the classic gothic style in the tradition of Victoria Holt won't want to miss this atmospheric tale of romantic suspense.--Crystal Renfro, Georgia Inst. of Technology Lib. & Information Ctr., Atlanta[Page 115]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
In St. James's atmospheric third ghostly mystery set in post-WWI England (after 2013's An Inquiry into Love and Death), Kitty Weekes is fleeing her abusive father when she learns of a nursing vacancy at Portis House, a grand estate now housing shell-shocked veterans. Hoping the remote location will protect her, she wins the job using falsified credentials. Kitty learns that the eerie house's original owners have mysteriously disappeared and that the patients suffer the same terrifying nightmare as well as a propensity for similar suicides. As fear drives her search for explanations, Kitty bonds with a man known only as Patient Sixteen. He proves an able--and attractive--fellow investigator before a deadly influenza epidemic isolates Portis House, leaving it prey to a past that will not rest. St. James cleverly intertwines the story's paranormal elements with what is now called PTSD, crafting a pleasurably creepy tale about the haunting power of the unseen. Agent: Pamela Hopkins, Hopkins Literary Associates. (Apr.)[Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC