THE DEVIL'S DOOR-BELL by Anthony Horowitz


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Horror upon horror, and mystery after mystery, quickly queer a tale with a promising if stock Dickensian opening: 13-year-old Londoner Martin Hopkins, suddenly orphaned, is as suddenly spirited off to deepest, dankest Yorkshire by haggish ""foster mother"" Mrs. Crow. But they haven't so much as left London before a too-inquisitive policeman is inexplicably struck dead; they no more than reach Yorkshire before Mrs. Crow, as inexplicably, starts a non-functioning car. All the locals, it soon appears, are in on something--something controlled by a viperous mystery-man, something involving the abandoned nearby nuclear installation, Omega One, and the foul ancient rites conducted there, something for which Martin is somehow wanted. And the only real point of interest--as a would-be saviour is murdered (and the corpse disappears), as tell-tale pages vanish from library books, as Martin is charged by deformed monster-dogs, and rescued in the nick--is what he, in particular, is wanted for? A local reporter turns from scoffer to ally; a nuclear big-wig stonewalls the pair's queries; the Devil's Door-Bell (scrawled on a wall by that first murderee) turns out to have to do with a circle of standing stones--""so hideous, so evil that every one was ground to powder, and the powder scattered to the four corners of Britain."" There's much, much unheralded more before Martin recognizes his special ""psychic power'--the reason he had to come to Omega One, and destroy it. But he is also, still inexplicably, ""one of the five""--and there are four more books en route. An excess of everthing outlandish known to English juveniles cancels this one out.

Pub Date: Feb. 27th, 1984
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston