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The Curse of the Fleers

Novel by Basil Copper (England) 1976.

Captain Guy Hammond is on medical leave from the army when he receives a letter and visit from a former lieutenant of his, Cedric Fleer, who resigned his commission a couple of years earlier to turn about the fortunes of his family estate. Fleer is distraught and fears for the sanity of his father, Sir John Fleer, and invites Hammond to the estate to try and help in any way that he can. Hammond accepts and finds himself playing detective, investigating the strange re-enactions of a darker moment in the long Fleer family history.

Though this is a detective story, there is much to recommend it to a horror connoisseur, not least the pedigree of the author. Basil Copper has worked frequently in the weird, gothic and horror genres with novels like The Great White Space, The House of the Wolf and Necropolis, as well as with numerous macabre short stories. It follows a pattern typical of the detective novel, but peppers it with numerous more typical gothic and horror devices, and a plot that bears comparison with And Now the Screaming Starts... by David Case, another author who has worked in the weird as well as the horror genre. All the various strands of plot are satisfactorily tied up, the characters are well fleshed out and there are plenty of details thrown into the melting pot to keep the reader as well as Guy Hammond occupied. Well worth a look for those who are willing to try books on the fringes of the horror genre.


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