Book Review: The House on Widows Hill by Simon R Green

Posted August 28, 2020 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Book Review: The House on Widows Hill by Simon R Green

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The House on Widows Hill Genres: Paranormal Fantasy, Mystery
Published by Severn House Publishers on July 2, 2020
Pages: 192
Format: Hardcover
Source: the library

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Ninth in the Ishmael Jones paranormal mystery series revolving around an alien spy and his partner. The focus is on a house rumored to be haunted in Bath, England.

My Take

It was an unexpected mission, taking on a haunted house, but it certainly suits Green’s preferences for the weird. It does remind me of Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians mystery.

I did wonder why it took so long for the “team” to realize they couldn’t just sit there. As for Freddie’s insta-love for Arthur…huh?

Green uses first person protagonist point-of-view from Ishmael’s perspective so we know what he’s thinking and seeing. But only that. It’s how we know how weird is the architecture of the house. Only one window on the main floor? No kitchen? Why, or should I ask how would Malcolm’s family have lived there? What was with the stuffed animals? How come they spoke English when the rest of the “haunting” didn’t? Why did Penny fly off the handle about an issue she should have already understood? I kept thinking it must be a set-up…and not Penny being so childish.

Ishmael is right. We have no idea what the future holds, and any of us could die at any time.

I do like Freddie’s motto:

“Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today. Because if you do it today and you like it, you can do it again tomorrow.”

Although, I do hafta say that The House on Widows Hill was not a favorite. The prose is readable but the story meanders around with some action that’s mostly character-driven. It was such a slow read in spite of its mere 192 pages.

Huh? Green never does mention why it’s called Widows Hill. I should’ve thought that would have added to the tension.

The Story

Investigating haunted houses isn’t Ishmael’s area of expertise, and he’s forced to cooperate with a group of amateurs.

The results are…and aren’t what he expects, as his own past comes back to haunt him.

The Characters

Ishmael Jones arose in 1963 from the ruins of his spacecraft. Today he works for the Organization. Penny Belcourt is Ishmael’s human partner (The Dark Side of the Road, 1).

Team Ghost includes…
Lynn Barrett, a celebrity psychic who specializes in cleansing haunted houses, has a degree in organic chemistry. Tom Shaw is an amateur ghost-chaser who invests everything in scientific equipment. Arthur Welles is a reporter for the local paper, the Bath Herald. He’s also a member of the family that owns Harrow House. Winifred “Freddie” Stratton is an historian who specializes in local history as well as being a white witch. Flossie is Freddie’s sister.

Harrow House was…
…built in the 1880s by the wealthy, unscrupulous Malcolm Welles, the head of the family back then.

Dennis is a frightened cab driver with his own personal experience in childhood. Kevin had been the leader of their gang.

The Organization is…
…a super-secret group that investigates weird cases and strange happenings. The Colonel is Ishmael’s sole contact within the Organization. Mr Whisper negates that with his own request.

Mr Nemo, a.k.a. Mr Nobody, is a psychic and member of the British Psychic Weapons Group, who has given Ishmael’s memories a nudge.

The Cover and Title

The cover is black and white, but not what you’re thinking. It’s a black background that frames a haunting photo in the lower half of a lone Victorian (with windows?? on the ground floor?) at the top of a sparse hill, bats flying by well beneath a huge spiky branched tree on the left, and a huge full moon on the right under a cloudy sky. All the text is in white, starting with the series information at the top. The author’s name is distressed below that with a shadow lightly touching here and there on the title below that. At the very bottom is a testimonial.

The title is where it’s haunted, The House on Widows Hill.

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