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The Witches [Paperback]

Peter Curtis
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
Price: 7.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

10 Mar 2011

Walwyk seemed a dream village to the new schoolteacher, Miss Mayfield. But dreams can change into nightmares...

When one of her students accuses his friend Ethel's grandmother of abusing her, Miss Mayfield cannot let it go. But Ethel won't say anything, despite the evidence of Miss Mayfield's own eyes. But as she attempts to get to the truth of the matter, she stumbles on something far more sinister. Walwyk seems to be in the grip of a centuries-old evil, and anybody who questions events in the village does not last long.

Death stalks more than one victim, and Miss Mayfield begins to realise that if she's not careful, she will be the next to die...

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The Witches + The Revenge of Frankenstein + Twins of Evil (Hammer)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Hammer; Reissue edition (10 Mar 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099553848
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099553847
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 414,823 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"Flesh-creeping" (Daily Telegraph)

"Intensely suspenseful, powerfully underplayed, subtly authoritative" (New York Times)

"Quite, quite different... eerie, horrific, brilliant" (Guardian)

Book Description

A masterpiece of sinister malevolence, The Witches is a classic horror novel

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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
3.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Re-issue of an eerie little story 26 Sep 2011
By Mitz
This book was written in 1960 and is set in 1959, so right from the start, think along the lines of 'Rosemary's Baby' rather than 'Stephen King' when it comes to horror explicitness.

An 'old-maid' schoolteacher (all of 44 years old, but this is the sixties, girls), is sent home from her missionary school in Africa because of illness accompanied by a breakdown, and after an unhappy time at a horrid comp, lands a job as a headmistress at Walwyk village, a beautiful English community kept in rather feudal manner by a Canon Thorby.

Miss Mayfield soon begins to suspect that some of the villagers are practicing witchcraft and have a young girl, Ethel Rigby, in mind for a mysterious but ominous purpose. What can she do to protect the girl? Who will help her? Can she trust anyone?

When one of her potential allies is killed and the other frightened off, she realises how nasty things can get in lovely, secluded Walwyk, but sets out to save Ethel from a fate worse than death.

This is a subtle, eerie piece of storytelling (Peter Curtis is the pseudonym of Norah Lofts, who wrote the equally elegant, subtle and eerie 'Gad's Hall' and 'The Haunting of Gad's Hall'. This is horror from another time, where the nastiness doesn't splatter in your face or grab you in a headlock (not that there's anything wrong with more upfront horror, I love with a passion SK and all his rabid dogs and undead children), rather, it's like a hand touching you on the ankle and just when you thought you'd imagined it, grasping like a vice.

There's some annoying dialect-writing (all the natives of Walwyk say 'hev' instead of 'have', for instance), but aside from that, Curtis/Lofts hardly puts a foot wrong.
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5.0 out of 5 stars the witches 17 Feb 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book, but I love all Norah Lofts books. Recommended, and read it in one sitting. Well pleased
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3.0 out of 5 stars Need to like norah lofts 24 Jun 2013
By twinkle
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I like all norah lofts stories, but for some people it will be very very old fashioned. If you want grit and sex don't both with this one. Very like the Wickerman with all the village in on the witchcraft. Strange ending.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars think it would be better for a teenager 3 Feb 2012
By anon831
I bought this thinking it would be a good old fashioned horror or chiller, it probably would be better for a teenager then an adult though. It was an enjoyable read with all that said
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Nurrie
Format:Kindle Edition
This is set in 1959, written in 1960. It was interesting seeing the past and past views and behaviour, and the story may have been surprising in the past, but thanks to the swinger movement and orge parties and the rise of porn and news of human trafficking (which is far, far worse than this story), this is not as shocking as it could be for the modern person, or at least not to me. I'm sure people of the past may have fainted from this but for me, I just wanted to slap them all in the face.

It also takes a very long time for any plot to evolve and shine through. I was bored at times reading this. Though it was nice to see the main character evolve, to see her go from a queit, timid woman who fit in the 40/50s to the equivalent of a modern woman of that time, though she takes her own sweet time.

Interesting to see the past, but the story is boring.
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