The Publication Details:
- Publisher: Signet
- Released: March 1967
- Length: 127 pages
- Samantha Crawford, a promising young writer for Secrets magazine.
- Peter Castellano, a famous stage actor and heartthrob who disappeared from the public eye after his second wife's death.
- Cheryl Castellano, Peter's 18-year old daughter by his second wife.
- Richard Mansfield, hunky photographer who works for the same publisher as Samantha.
1966; Coast of Maine; Witch's Hammer Estate, outside the village of Durness Kyle.
The Set Up:
Samantha Crawford gets her first big break as a writer when she's assigned to do a serial for Secrets on the love life of actor Peter Castellano. During his time on the stage, Peter had the adulation of millions of women, but all that ended when his wife died under tragic and mysterious circumstances. Since then, he's been in hiding at Witch's Hammer, his family's estate on the coast of Maine.
Peter invites Samantha to stay with him and his daughter at Witch's Hammer while she conducts interviews. Their home, er, castle, is a replica of the one the family left behind in Imperial Russia, complete with a staff from the old country (and their descendants). Does that one man look like Rasputin? And what's up with his piercing dark eyes?
Samantha was specifically told not to inquire about Peter's wife's death or the 10 years he's spent in seclusion. But, darn it, she just can't help herself. Everything about Witch's Hammer and the people living there seems...off. And then there's that beautiful yet creepy painting of Peter's late mother hanging in Samantha's room... Did her expression just change? *shudders*
The Wrap Up:
Liked it. Quick and easy read. WITCH'S HAMMER had plenty of suspense and a couple of spooky moments. I enjoyed the outcome of the mystery, though there were too many questions left unanswered for me to rate this higher than 3-stars.