The Darkened Room
Michael Harrison

 A Rowchester Novel #4 (1951)

e-Book, 262 pp. (Tina Rhea #26)
ISBN 978-1-55497-260-9 $10.00



Blackmail in the higher social circles of an English cathedral-city is the unusual theme of Michael Harrison’s powerful new novel, The Darkened Room, which is set in the "Rowcester" made famous in this author’s best-selling novel, The House in Fishergate.

‘Blackmail is a subject which has a peculiar fascination for the novelist, since it is a crime which strikes at that fundamental trust which is the basis of our social order. But Michael Harrison has handled the tried theme in a fascinatingly novel way. It is safe to assert that never was a woman blackmailed in so strange a manner as was Mrs. Arthur Salisbury, nor was revenge for the cruelty that she was made to suffer taken in a manner at once so complete and so startlingly unusual.

‘This novel deals with the effect of sudden wealth upon a young veterinary surgeon, Richard Savage, "demobbed" only to face near bankruptcy as an unsuccessful cat-and-dog doctor in a mean Rowcester back street. A chance meeting with the cathedral-city’s wealthiest and most autocratic character changes everything, and changes their lives in a way which brings drama and suffering into existence.

‘But others are affected, too, by the meeting: "Captain" Rowlands, the affable father-in-law of the vet., and Caroline, his shrewish, money-mad daughter. They seek to realise their dreams of enormous wealth in blackmail.

‘There is both horror and humour in this latest novel: and the humour serves only to heighten the horror, while the climax may literally be described as terrifying.