Evil in the Family
Grace Corren | Belmont Tower Books | 1972 | 222 pages
After the tragic deaths of her parents and brother in a car accident, Dana Gentry goes to stay with her estranged aunt Gladys in the rambling old Victorian house of her mother’s childhood. Upon arrival, Dana receives a hostile reception from Angela, the longtime housekeeper, and her elderly aunt—although friendly—seems reluctant to discuss the details surrounding her separation from Dana’s mother. During a visit to the kitchen for a midnight snack, Dana is startled by the sudden presence of Angela’s husband Ronald, who she suspects may be living in the house without her aunt’s knowledge.
Curious about the house and its occupants, Dana decides to look around. While exploring the cellar, she receives a sharp blow to the head. When she awakens, she makes to a startling discovery—she has been transported over forty years into the past, and now inhabits the body of her late aunt, Dana Wilson. Struggling to understand her new situation, Dana attempts to uncover the secrets that drove her family apart, and avoid the fateful day of her late aunt’s (and now, perhaps her own) death.
The narrative shifts back and forth in time with the fortuitous appearance of runaway trucks, knocking Dana back into her other timeline through violent traffic accidents. Interestingly for a time travel story, Dana ultimately accepts the notion of the past as immutable (to the great consternation of potential time travelers everywhere). Evil in the Family delivers only a modest amount of tension, through Dana’s knowledge of her aunt’s impending death in the past, and her fear of the mysterious force working upon her in the present. When finally revealed, however, the motivations and machinations of the person responsible are as unsatisfying as the ambiguous conclusion regarding the nature of Dana’s time travel.