Tuesday 6 May 2014

The Haunting of Highdown Hall by Shani Struthers (a review)

The Haunting of Highdown Hall is the first in the 'Psychic Surveys' series - and a great start it is too!

The story revolves around Ruby Davies, who owns the Psychic Surveys business with her assistants/associates Theo, Ness and Corinna. They are based in the South of England, covering  Brighton, Lewes and the surrounding area. The purpose of the business is helping spirits/ghosts pass 'into the light'.

It seems there are quite a few hauntings in this area which helps the reader get used to the way the team works. Their way involves the use of communication (with the ghost) and the cleansing of the site with crystals, smudge sticks and the likes - no religion or exorcism here.

The main haunting here though revolves around the titular Highdown Hall and the ghost of Cynthia Hart, the biggest movie star of her day who died in the 1950's but refuses to move on. The present owner of Highdown Hall wants her gone and is prepared to ruin the reputation of Ruby and Psychic Surveys if they fail.

There really is something for everyone here- a ghost story first and foremost, it is also a mystery (what is stopping Cynthia moving on and who is the other figure she is so scared of?) and, from very early on, a romance angle when Ruby meets Cash, a website developer. Watching their relationship grow with the story is actually quite pleasant reading - it just feels natural, not cloying and sickly. Add to this the humour and 'awww' factor of Jed the ghost dog (hope he comes back for book 2) and you really do have a winning combination.

Romance and mystery with a proper English ghost story at it's heart 5/5 stars

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for such a great review Andy and fear not, Jed is an integral part of the team - where would Ruby be without her 'protector'? Glad the romance part not cloying, I wanted it to feel natural, underplayed almost and glad that's how it came across - Cash too is an integral part of the team. They're all set now to encounter even darker things in book 2!