Friday, October 31, 2014

The Uninvited by Dorothy Macardle

I've read a novel for the Halloween season, and it's The Uninvited by Dorothy Macardle (1889-1958). My edition was published in 1942.

Roddy, a journalist, and his sister, Pamela, have fled the fast pace of London life for their dream home in the country. The house, known as Cliff End, is on the Devonshire coast. Despite warnings and gossip from the locals about the house being haunted, Roddy and Pamela decide to move in and fix up the place. They learn the hard way that Cliff End is haunted by an unhappy spirit, but they decide to solve the mystery of who the spirit might be.

The Uninvited is not a blood and gore supernatural thriller. What Macardle has created is an intriguing mystery about what happened in the house in the past, and resolving this mystery ultimately comes down to good versus evil. The novel has a spooky and genuinely creepy and suspenseful atmosphere.

The things that happen, while not scary by today's standards, are still otherworldly like several appearances of a white ghostly figure that likes to float down the stairs, a room that is always cold and sometimes has the strong smell of mimosa, and a seance, just to name a few. Along with the goings on, there is a love story between Roddy and Stella, the beautiful young woman who is the granddaughter of the previous owner of Cliff End. The spirit haunting the house might be Stella's mother who died when she was a child, or is it? And was Stella's mother the lovely person everyone thought her to be? 

This was a fun read, and I recommend The Uninvited to anyone who loves Daphne du Maurier. Unfortunately, the book is no longer in print, but if you come across it as I did at a book sale or perhaps in a library, The Uninvited is worth a read.

I also recommend the stylish 1944 film starring Ray Milland and Ruth Hussey, based on the book. It's a great film that stays true to Dorothy Macardle's story.

Happy Halloween!


  1. Thanks for your review. I'll keep an eye out for this one at the library sales next summer. It sounds like a perfect R.I.P. read!

  2. I love this story! Since I saw the movie, I have been trying to find a copy of the book.