The Skeleton Closet of Jules De Grandin

by Seabury Quinn | Mystery & Thrillers |
ISBN: 0445085274 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 6/20/2018
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Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Wednesday, June 20, 2018
I found this '70s paperback on the book swap shelf in the Salem NH park-and-ride while dropping off some books of my own. I'd listened to several of these forgotten-classic supernatural/mystery stories via this audiobook, and was pleased to find this text copy. (Its introduction by Manly Wade Wellman was a delightful bonus.)

While the stories do suffer a bit from "foolish Watson" syndrome regarding de Grandin's friend and sidekick, curmudgeonly Dr. Trowbridge - who rarely seems to remember from one case to the next that supernatural foes exist, and tends to get obstructive and testy whenever de Grandin suggests a new fiend - they do have some inventive plots and unnerving scenes. Some of them are surprisingly ghastly, too, though others are of the lovers-survive-trials-and-have-a-happy-ending variety. There are some unfortunate elements re period attitudes - Irish cop Costello, while considered an ally to our heroes, speaks in a stage-Irishman brogue, and many of the evil-cultist foes are described in racist terms - but in general de Grandin is willing to recognize honor in people of any background, and in some cases has defended the foreign foes against the white men who wronged them.

Of the stories here, my favorites include:

"The Doom of the House of Phipps," in which a family suffering from a centuries-old curse - deserved by those who triggered it, but now falling on innocent descendants - is saved by a combination of de Grandin's intervention and a fortuitous and breach-healing romance.

"The Brain-Thief": one of the nastier villains in Quinn's works strikes here, causing the wreck of several families and the tragic death of some of the innocent victims. The setup: a young man known to Trowbridge as a valued member of the community suddenly went bad a couple of years back, betraying his young wife and everyone who loved and trusted him. Now he needs help, and it takes all of de Grandin's influence to persuade Trowbridge not to cut the lad dead. The story he tells is nightmarish indeed, and involves the loss of memory and some serious brainwashing - and, perhaps worst of all, the sudden restoration to his original self, only now facing two lost years and some horrifying changes. Seriously, this one gave me chills. And while de Grandin was able to stop the villain, it was too late for some of the innocent victims...

[There's a TV Tropes page on Quinn and his work, with references to the Jules de Grandin stories.]

Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing at Little Free Library, 20 Broad St. in Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Thursday, October 11, 2018

Released 3 mos ago (10/12/2018 UTC) at Little Free Library, 20 Broad St. in Nashua, New Hampshire USA

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

I left this book in the Little Free Library on this rainy day; hope someone enjoys it!

[See other recent releases in NH here.]

*** Released for the 2018 Spook-Tacular October release challenge. ***

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