Sunday, October 21, 2012

Scary Books - The Witching Night by C.S. Cody

The Witching Night by C.S. Cody is vintage 1950s horror and suspense. This jewel was published in 1952 and was reprinted in paperback several times. Shown here is the first hardcover edition. C.S. Cody was a pseudonym for Leslie Waller, who later wrote Dog Day Afternoon (under the name Patrick Mann) and the novelization of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The Witching Night isn’t like today’s bloody exercises in graphic gore. The suspense builds slowly and then it becomes a pulse-pounding thriller. Often moody, this is an intelligently written novel that is perhaps somewhat typical of the post-war literary community. Dr. Joe Loomis attempts to help his ailing friend Colin and after Colin dies Loomis inherits his estate. Compelled to discover the secret to Colin’s mysterious illness he finds himself plunged into a world of Satanic worshippers, black magic and murder. Who are the Dune-Dwellers on the shores of Lake Michigan and what role did they play in Colin’s illness? Then of course there’s the beautiful Abbie Cowper. Loomis is naturally attracted to her, but who is she and what does she represent? At times the writing is dazzling such as this description of Abbie swimming: “I watch her long slim body in a white bathing suit cleave the water some way off. She swims well, her long black hair swirling behind her like the filmy, gauzy fins of some rare tropical fish.” (p.199) this book gets stranger and stranger and ultimately what you have is another old-fashioned page turner. That’s a good thing. Trust me on this one, if you can find a copy of this book’s many editions I suggest you read it. And make certain the doors are locked.

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