Echo in a Dark Wind
Julia Withers | Signet Books | 1966 | 128 Pages
Interior designer Angela Craymore travels to Morgan castle in remote Wales to transform a brooding family estate into a modern tourist destination. Trevor Morgan, freed from the constraints of his recently deceased father’s allowance, has begun spending his family fortune to realize his vision of a fashionable retreat for travelers. However, not all residents of Morgan castle share Trevor’s dream, least of all his reclusive, shell-shocked brother David, living apart in a tower room.
Corpulent manager Wayne Trefin and his flirtatious wife Lenore are among the other residents maneuvering Trevor to advance their own personal agendas—but the castle may have more than just corporeal residents. The spirit of Marcia Morgan, first wife of the late patriarch (who was struck by a falling limb and plunged to her death over the cliff-side parapet), purportedly roams the grounds of the estate.
A series of small mishaps rattle Angela’s nerves, and she begins to wonder whether she has been targeted by a malevolent force. A decorative halberd falls from the wall, narrowly missing her when she opens the door to her room. A saddle burr sparks her horse to panic, throwing her to the ground. While exploring the castle alone, she is stalked by stealthy footsteps, and becomes trapped in a secret dungeon room.
Echo in a Dark Wind establishes a heroine-in-danger motif, teases a few possible romantic interests, but then settles into something of a middling (if not enjoyable) mystery. Once Angela’s mishaps escalate into murder, the plot quickly reaches its rather predictable conclusion. The supernatural realm is never developed, and the most profound horror Angela encounters is probably the clash between the Louis XIV armoire and the Spanish sideboard in the castle’s drawing room.