|09-01-2008, 06:44 AM||#1|
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White, Ethel Lina: Some Must Watch. v1, 1 Sep 2008
1933 mystery novel by the British novelist, Ethel Lina White (1876-1944), also published as The Spiral Staircase.
Some Must Watch is set in The Summit, an isolated country house on the Welsh border. The household is headed by scholarly Professor Sebastian Warren, with his elderly spinster sister, Blanche, acting as housekeeper. Other residents include the pair’s widowed stepmother, Lady Warren, bedridden and of evil temper, and the professor’s son, Newton, and man-hungry daughter-in-law, Simone. Young Stephen Rice is there to be coached for a civil-service job by the professor, Mr. and Mrs. Oates serve as general handyman and cook, and Nurse Barker has just arrived to care for Lady Warren.
The story opens as Helen Capel--working for the family as a lady help, a polite term for dogsbody--hurries back to The Summit after an afternoon walk. Darkness is falling and she feels distinctly uneasy, as well she might given that four girls have recently been murdered in the area. As Helen reaches the safety of the house, she sees a man lurking in the tree plantation next door--or is it only a trick of the fading light? Nevertheless, she is relieved when the time comes for her nightly duty of locking doors and shuttering windows.
Shocking news arrives not long afterwards. Another girl has been found murdered, this time on the other side of the plantation. As a safety precaution, Professor Warren decides nobody may leave or enter The Summit that night, even though Mr. Oates has just departed in search of a fresh oxygen cylinder for Lady Warren. Just as the professor finishes his announcement someone starts to knock loudly at the front door ...
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