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What Lies Beneath [Paperback]

Sarah Rayne
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
Price: £6.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

4 Aug 2011
When the village of Priors Bramley was closed off for chemical-weapons testing during the Cold War, a long history of dark secrets was also shut away. Now, more than fifty years later, the ghost village has been declared safe again, but there are those living nearby who would much rather that the past remain buried. Ella Haywood, who used to play in the village as a child, is haunted by the discovery of two bodies. All those years ago, something happened in the village, something so terrible that and she and her two oldest friends have vowed to this day never to tell a soul. But the past has a habit of forcing the truth to the surface. With the identity of the bodies and the mystery surrounding the now derelict Cadence Manor drawing increasing local interest, Ella fears that she will have to resort to ever more drastic measures if she is to make sure that no one discovers what really happened all those years ago.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd (4 Aug 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847393586
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847393586
  • Product Dimensions: 11.6 x 18.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 433,564 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sarah Rayne's first novel was published in 1982, and for several years she juggled writing books with working in property, pounding an elderly typewriter into the small hours in order to meet deadlines.
Much of the inspiration for her dark psychological thrillers comes from the histories and atmospheres of old buildings, a fact that is strongly apparent in many of her settings - Mortmain House in A Dark Dividing, Twygrist Mill in Spider Light, and the Tarleton Theatre in Ghost Song.
She has written more than 25 books to date, and her work has met with considerable acclaim, with Tower of Silence being long-listed for the 2005 Theakston's Award. Her books are also published in America, as well as having been translated into German, Dutch, Russian and Turkish.
In 2011 she published the first of a series of ghost-themed books, featuring the Oxford don, Michael Flint, and the antiques dealer, Nell West, who made their debut in Property of a Lady.
Several years ago Sarah also wrote six contemporary horror books, originally under the pen-name of Frances Gordon and recently re-issued in e-Book format.
To find out more about Sarah Rayne, visit her website or YouTube channel, or follow her on Facebook -

Product Description


"Sarah Rayne does it again, with yet another heart-stopping thriller..." --eurocrime.co.uk

About the Author

The author of seven terrifying novels of psychological suspense, Sarah Rayne lives in Staffordshire. Visit www.sarahrayne.co.uk

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Really disappointing 20 Oct 2011
By Alison
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have very much enjoyed Ms Rayne's books in the past, but this one was so amazingly disappointed. I enjoyed the 'poisoned village' scenario a great deal - it's one that has numerous possibilities, and somebody as skilled as Ms Rayne should certainly know how to deal with it, but by less than a quarter of the way through it was entirely obvious who was writing the 'unnamed' journal, and blindingly, blindingly clear what was going to happen, and to whom. It was just a question of what the order would be.

So very disappointed I can't even begin to say. There is nothing worse than anticipating a book, knowing you like the author and enjoy their work, only to discover that on this occasion they have let themselves down badly. I may well be in the minority here, but I would say to anybody who asked, read the other stuff. Avoid this one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Neither chilling nor thrilling 1 Aug 2013
By Bookwoman TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
It's a clever idea for a spooky whodunnit, and a great way to get away with murder: kill someone in a deserted village just before it's sealed off for a Cold War chemical weapons experiment. Trouble is, what happens fifty years later when the village is unexpectedly cleaned up and reopened, and two bodies are found?
There are so many possibilities for a really atmospheric thriller, but unfortunately this is a terrible book with a ridiculous yet boring plot, and overwrought yet dull characters. Most of them are unpleasant, too, which wouldn't have mattered if this had been one of those psychological crime novels that gets inside the mind of a murderer, but it's far too superficial for that. There's no focus to the story either, and despite all the rather silly and melodramatic murders (aga saga meets Jekyll and Hyde?), it soon becomes a depressing slog through the effects of syphilis on a family over the generations. Lovely.
It just doesn't work: obvious twists and villains, too many timeshifts and points of view, too many random sub-plots (did we really need that endless sailing trip to Turkey?), too much rambling explanation and detail which fails to convince (just how come children can wander in and out of this poisoned village anyway?) until finally it all just fizzles out.
I picked it up at random, seduced by the premise and the blurb which promised "a chilling new thriller for fans of PD James and Reginald Hill". But it's neither chilling nor thrilling, and I don't think I'll be reading any more books by Sarah Rayne after this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Probably my favourite by this author! 8 Sep 2011
By cait
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've read all but one of Rayne's novels and this is my favourite by a fair bit. It's not as creepy as some of her other work but it's thoroughly enjoyable for all that. She paints such a vivid picture of the abandoned village and let's face it, who doesn't love stories with a crazy relative locked in the attic?!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Dark secrets are lost when Priors Bramley is closed to the outside world. When it's re-opened many years later, far more than a once-poisoned village comes to light. Who's the terrifying stranger? What's the source of the ghostly music? What hidden pasts does Cadence Manor hold? Sarah Rayne's latest novel hooks the reader from page one and grips tightly until the final line. Her imagination and skill at handling parallel narratives and multiple time lines never fails to amaze me. What Lies Beneath sweeps the reader across centuries and continents in a breathless journey full of twists and turns and several (characters') dead-ends. The book contains all Sarah Rayne's hallmarks: pace, tension, growing menace, spine-tingling passages. As always, buildings are central to the plot and so well portrayed they almost become characters. Sarah Rayne's ability as a page-turning story-teller is as impressive as her exquisite prose. What Lies Beneath is the work of an author at the top of her game.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good thriller. 15 May 2012
By J.Flood
The village of Priors Bramley was closed off fifty years ago, due to a military experiment being conducted, in the area. On the day it was closed off, three children from the neighbouring town decided to visit the village for one last time, leading to serious repercussions. In the present day, the village has now been declared safe, and is about to be reopened. However, one of the former children would prefer the town to stayed closed, and secrets to remain buried.

As others have mentioned, this novel is not quite as creepy as some of this author's other works, but it certanly has some very eerie moments. The story skips between events of one hundred years ago, events from fifty years ago, and the present day. It kept my interest throughout, but I found the parts of the book set in current times, the least believeable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Murderous Tale 14 Oct 2011
A good book and well worth reading- I would say I did not find this quite as atmospheric as some of the other books by this writer- some of the village scenes (in the present, not the past ones) struck me as a bit Miss Marple- the characters of Clem and Veronica being somewhat unbelievable.

Nonetheless, there is much of interest, and one very gory, gut wrenching scene.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Although the book starts in the present day when Ella Haywood hears alarming news whilst queuing at the supermarket, the story switches back to 1912 where we meet the Cadence family of Cadence Manor in the village of Priors Bramley, narrated by Crispian Cadence the eldest son, and a series of journals - author initially unknown.

The news that so disturbed Ella Haywood relates back to 1960 when the local council moved the residents from the village of Priors Bramley, re-housing them in the nearby village of Upper Bramley to make way for a road. Then decided to use the village for a chemical weapons experiment. On the morning that the village is to be sprayed with chemicals from the air, three children, Ella Heywood, Veronica and Clem, nine years old walk through the village for the last time, with disastrous results. They all swear never to tell what happened that morning in Priors Bramley, confident that with the village sealed because of contamination their secret will remain a secret.

Although the seeds for the catastrophe of 1960 were sown in the early 1900's the full horror does not actually come to light until the present day. This is a gruesome yet utterly absorbing tale, where the sins of the fathers are certainly visited on their children. For Ella Hayward the past must stay buried, but secrets have a habit of finding their way to the surface.

The descriptive powers of the author are awesome, and the tension rises to a menacing level. Whilst there are some horrific scenes, it is a terribly sad tale.

Brilliantly crafted, Sarah Rayne is a gifted writer. Highly recommended.
Lizzie Hayes
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I totally recommend it to any lover of thriller/ mystery
Sarah Rayne is a new author that I came across whilst browsing Amazon. I downloaded a sample of this book and was instantly hooked. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mary
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very happy
Published 2 months ago by PD
5.0 out of 5 stars What Lies Beneath
Well written, easy to keep track of the story line,keeps your interest throughout,will be buying further Sarah Rayne books on my Kindle act with Amazon
Published 11 months ago by Harry
2.0 out of 5 stars Not her best
I've read a number of Sarah Rayne's books, and I really like them. They're implausible yet believable which is a rare combination. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Victoria
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
I have only recently discovered Sarah Rayne and if you like psyological reads like Mo Hayder and Peter Robinson you will love her. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Claire
3.0 out of 5 stars More murders than a Midsommer mile
You're not meant to start giggling at grisly thrillers, but really, I couldn't help it... kind of like the demented syphilitic serial killer in the book. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Helen Bennett
5.0 out of 5 stars another' sarah-super 'read!
i-like many others-have read alot of sarah raynes books and find them a great read.This one did not disappoint. Read more
Published 23 months ago by lady anna
2.0 out of 5 stars I have read much better
I had heard great things about this author and this was my first attempt at one of her books.

I was very disappointed. Read more
Published on 16 Sep 2012 by The Fat Punter
1.0 out of 5 stars Nothing lies beneath !
I was terribly disappointed with this book. I have read most of Sarah Rayne's books and this is by far the worst. Read more
Published on 28 Aug 2012 by maru 92
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