Thursday, 13 December 2012

The Silent House in Pimlico by Fergus Hume

In London, No:13 Geneva Square, Pimlico, is reputed to be haunted and left untenanted for a long while with frequent sightings of a light flitting from window to window. Because of its loneliness, and grimness, it is called the Silent House.

When finally there is a new tenant in the house. He hardly interacts with anybody and stays confined all the time. On a foggy November night, Lucian Denzil, a briefless barrister, living in Geneva Square, has a strange encounter on the streets with Mark Berwin, the tenant of the Silent House. Berwin is drunk and lost and rambles on about the ghosts of his folly. Denzil helps him find home.

There are rumours of strange happenings in No.13. Nobody visits the home by the front door which looks like the only entrance to the house but two or three shadows are visible on the sitting-room blind. What is happening at the silent house? After a few nights, Denzil witness two shadows, of a man and woman violently arguing in the Silent House and Berwin is not inside the house. Who are these shadows and how did they get in?

Is it a surprise when Berwin is found stabbed to heart in his home the next morning? There is only one entrance to the house and it is locked from inside. How did anybody kill Berwin? Who are the shadows? How did they enter the house? Is it the work of the supernatural?

Berwin has a beautiful daughter and how could Denzil resist temptation. He tries to unravel the mystery. One clue leads to another which leads to another and so and on. It has more a feel of adventure. Suspicion moves from one suspect to another. Denzil establishes a case against one and finds them innocent and moves on to the next. The story is quite complicated. I read two Hume this year. They almost follow a similar pattern. I didn't guess the killer. Couldn't help wondering about the not so thorough work of the police. If it is not for Denzil, who is workless and infatuated with Berwin's daughter, this case would never be solved. An interesting locked room mystery published in 1907 that has a haunted house, a scheming woman, impersonation, romance, drug-addiction and insanity. Available as a free ebook at Gutenberg.

1 comment:

neer said...

This sounds interesting. Perhaps this year I'll read it for the challenge.

Have a very happy 2013.