To celebrate Halloween, Team Bookends have rounded up their pick of chilling, atmospheric reads to curl up with over the spooky weekend!
It’s Christmas 1845 and Haworth is in the grip of a freezing winter. Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë are rather losing interest in detecting until they hear of a shocking discovery: the bones of a child have been found interred within the walls of a local house, Top Withens Hall, home to the scandalous and brutish Bradshaw family.
When the sisters set off to find out more, they are confronted with an increasingly complex and sinister case, which leads them into the dark world of orphanages, and onto the trail of other lost, and likely murdered children. After another local boy goes missing, Charlotte, Emily and Anne vow to find him before it’s too late.
But in order to do so, they must face their most despicable and wicked adversary yet – one that would not hesitate to cause them the gravest of harm…
Madam by Phoebe Wynne
‘Rebecca meets The Secret History. Gloriously dark, gloriously gothic‘ Sara Collins
For 150 years, Caldonbrae Hall has loomed high above the Scottish cliffs as a beacon of excellence in the ancestral castle of Lord William Hope. A boarding school for girls, it promises that its pupils will emerge ‘resilient and ready to serve society’.
Into its illustrious midst steps Rose Christie, a 26-year-old Classics teacher and new head of department. Rose is overwhelmed by the institution: its arcane traditions, unrivalled prestige, and terrifyingly cool, vindictive students. Her classroom becomes her haven, where the stories of fearless women from ancient Greek and Roman history ignite the curiosity of the girls she teaches and, unknowingly, the suspicions of the powers that be.
But as Rose uncovers the darkness that beats at the very heart of Caldonbrae, the lines between myth and reality grow ever more blurred. It will be up to Rose – and the fierce young women she has come to love – to find a way to escape the fate the school has in store for them, before it is too late.
‘You broke my heart, Rhys Penhallow. And we curse you. You and your whole stupid, hot line.’
Vivienne Jones handled the biggest break-up of her life the way that any witch would: vodka, bubble baths, and a curse on her ex.
That was nine years ago. Now Rhys Penhallow, descendant of the town’s founders, breaker of hearts and still irritatingly gorgeous, is back. Rhys has returned to the quaint town of Graves Glen to recharge the ley lines and make an appearance at the annual fall festival. But when his every move results in calamity, Vivi realises that hexing her ex might not have been so harmless after all . . .
As the curse starts to affect the magic of the town, resulting in murderous wind-up toys, an outraged ghost, and a surprisingly talkative cat, Vivi and Rhys must put their personal feelings aside and work together to break the curse and save not just the town, but also Rhys’s life.
He is trying to poison me. You must come for me, Noemí. You have to save me.
When glamorous socialite Noemí Taboada receives a frantic letter from her newlywed cousin begging to be rescued from a mysterious doom, it’s clear something is desperately amiss. Catalina has always had a flair for the dramatic, but her claims that her husband is poisoning her and her visions of restless ghosts seem remarkable, even for her.
Noemí’s more suited to cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing, but she heads immediately to High Place, a remote mansion in the Mexican countryside, determined to discover what is so affecting her cousin. She’s tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who is fascinated by Noemí; and not of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom.
Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he wants to help – but he might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness.
It was meant to be a quiet family fishing trip, a chance for mother and daughter to talk. But it changes the course of their lives forever.
They catch nothing except a broken doll that gets tangled in the net. After years in the ocean, the doll a terrifying sight and the mother’s first instinct is to throw it back, but she relents when her daughter pleads to keep it. This simple act of kindness proves fatal. That evening, the mother posts a picture of the doll on social media. By the morning, she is dead and the doll has disappeared.
Several years later and Detective Huldar is in his least favourite place – on a boat in rough waters, searching for possible human remains. However, identifying the skeleton they find on the seabed proves harder than initially thought, and Huldar must draw on psychologist Freyja’s experience to help him. As the mystery of the unidentified body deepens, Huldar is also drawn into an investigation of a homeless drug addict’s murder, and Freyja investigates a suspected case of child abuse at a foster care home.
What swiftly becomes clear is that the cases are linked through a single, missing, vulnerable witness: the young girl who wanted the doll all those years ago.
‘A knife-sharp locked room mystery’ HARRIET TYCE
It’s that time of year when the glacier gives up bodies. But there’s one in particular someone is looking out for. When five friends meet for a reunion in an isolated mountain lodge, things turn deadly. Fans of Lucy Foley and Lisa Jewell will be gripped by spectacular thriller.
They were all there that winter, but someone will go to any lengths to hide the truth.
Who is guilty and who is innocent?
The secrets of the past are about to come out.