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The Echo on the Stairs

Novel by Martin Jenson 1977.

After The Village of Fear and An Odour of Decay, two refreshingly different novels, Martin Jenson turns in a more conventional work. Ambitious newspaperman Eric Kane, teacher Peter Bellamy and scientific researcher Ronald McQuade are linked by history. They grew up together and continued a friendship throughout life; but they also share the dark secret of a horrific act committed in earlier years. Now in middle age that secret seems to be coming back to haunt them. All three are experiencing strange disappointments and setbacks, and Peter Bellamy is convinced that they are cursed.

For most of the length of this novel Jenson keeps us guessing, but once we realise exactly what's going on it becomes instead somewhat predictable. His captivating style is as enjoyable as before but there is none of the unusual plotting to keep us absolutely hooked. Easily the worst of Martin Jenson's novels, nevertheless it has a lot going for it. Unfortunately it was also the last, maybe if Jenson had carried on he'd have reached a much wider audience who would approve of his different slant on the genre.


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