A Quiet Room

Yesterday I read What They Hear in the Dark, a novelette by Gary McMahon and the first release from new kid on the block Spectral Press, the love child of Simon Marshall-Jones.

I’ll be writing a review of the book for Black Static somewhere down the road I expect, but in the meantime my advice is to hie yourself on over to the publisher’s website and snag a copy of this excellent title, as it’s produced in a limited edition of 100 copies and they could all be gone by the time I get my arse in gear.

Central to the story is a sealed room which the two characters find hidden at the heart of the old house they are renovating, and this brought back some memories for me.

When I was a child we lived in this old house that had been in the Tennant family for several generations (my great, great grandfather had his own business and employed something like eighty people, but by the time of my parents we had fallen on hard times and this house was all that remained of past glories). After my father’s death, mum sold the house and moved to somewhere slightly more in line with her reduced circumstances, but the people who bought it found just such a sealed room when they undertook building work, empty except for a framed photograph of Queen Victoria on the wall. Nobody in the family had known it was there.

Of course, being of a horror cast of mind, I imagined it was an element in some black magic plot to overthrow Queen Victoria (I was reading a lot of Dennis Wheatley at the time), and even though with the benefit of hindsight I’m willing to concede that sounds slightly ridiculous, you have to ask yourself why else would that room with its image of the long dead monarch have been there?

Suggestions welcome.

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