Lucie Whitehouse - The House at Midnight (1 star)

Lucie Whitehouse - The House at Midnight

(Bloomsbury)

MYSTERY DRAMA

Employing a strategy inherently demanding that there’s no good reason to use one paragraph to describe paintings about Greek gods when an entire page-and-a-half will do, Lucie Whitehouse’s debut ultimately borders on the insulting. Judging by the hefty tributes on the book jacket, we are promised compelling doses of atmosphere and suspense, but are merely landed with a story that annoys through its misplaced grandiosity and amazes with its sheer banality of character and dialogue.

A gaggle of youngish middle-class irritants (some have ‘indie-singer hair’, others have the ‘air of the Left Bank’) gather in a really big house for New Year, with a sinister weight hanging around them concerning the host’s family secrets, notably the deaths of his uncle and father. With the narrator being ensnared in this dangerous world, it takes 370 pages for an unbelievably lame and tension-free climax to be realised. The Lucie Whitehouse experience is one to avoid.

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