Wednesday, 26 November 2008

REVIEW – Barbara Erskine – “Whispers in the Sand”

Publ: 2000 Harper Collins
Pensby Library (Paperback edition – 2001)
ISBN: 0 00 651207 0
Genres: Thriller; supernatural suspense.
Pages: 574
Rating: ***** *

Recently divorced Anna is on a Nile cruise on which she meets friendly and not so friendly fellow tourists including two men who are either after her body or the little glass scent jar given to her by her great aunt – or both. Anna also has with her a diary written by her great grandmother, Louisa, when she daringly undertook a similar Egyptian trip in 1866. The ancient glass jar was also Louisa’s and seems to attract strange and deadly forces.

The stories of the two trips up the Nile are interwoven throughout the book and the chilling experiences of both women become increasingly similar....

Although it is forty years since I last read a Dennis Wheatley thriller I was quickly reminded of his books when the spectral presences began their rivalry. The introduction of black magic subsequently reinforced that similarity.

This is not the sort of book which I would normally have bothered with and I would have said that I had outgrown my fascination with such supernatural suspense thrillers but Barbara Erskine has managed to weave a tale which kept me reasonably hooked (though it could have been shortened by a hundred pages without too much loss). I especially enjoyed the representation of the Victorian ethos against which Louisa struggled.

In all, an enjoyable piece of escapism.

BARBARA ERSKINE (Barbara Hope-Lewis) is a British author, born 1944. Most of her works combine the dual themes of history and the supernatural and she studied Scottish history at Edinburgh University. She is the author of the internationally best-selling novel 'Lady of Hay', which was translated into a dozen languages and has sold over a million copies world wide.

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