HAUNTED NIGHT by Joan Phipson


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Breezing in, it might be The Boarding School Chums; when doors open inexplicably, lights appear, a drum sounds, it tenses into a ghost story; on disclosure that the strange presences are dope addicts, it becomes a bust. Four classmates, making the rounds of the formal holiday dances (apparently an Australian custom), alight at Trish's grandparents', return late to find them called away, and spend the rest of the night barricaded from the eerie revelry emanating from the cellar of the enormous, echoing house--as eventually do footsteps and imploring voices. With mounting terror comes increasing antipathy toward one another, and outright cruelty--not hard to understand since a twisted kind of encounter-group candor (stoked by the insistent analysis of the author) underlies the initial chiffon-and-eye shadow chatter. Their to-do about appearances and ""effects"" isn't contemporary, their personalities (one is a whimperer, one patronizing, etc.) aren't sympathetic, and dragging in the dope problem--besides being irresponsible--emphasizes both deficiencies. What's offbeat for Joan Phipson is off-base altogether.

Pub Date: Feb. 18th, 1970
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace & World