Because I am a sucker for a plot line with a spooky ghost story, I was drawn to The Haunting of Henderson Close. I was not disappointed at all.
Many years ago, a street in Edinburgh named Henderson Close was closed and then built over. Due to the unique nature of the area, it has become a tourist attraction where our protagonist, Hannah, serves as a tour guide, showing people the nooks and crannies of the old street. One day, a girl on the tour goes missing and then mysteriously reappears; when asked where she was, the response is that “she doesn’t know. Swears she never left her mother’s side.” Hannah and her coworkers are left to wonder what could possibly be lurking about in Henderson Close, suspecting something supernatural.
The tour guides become convinced there is an evil presence at Henderson Close. Contributing to their conviction is the local lore surrounding a woman named Miss Carmichael, who once brought food and clothing to families living in Henderson Close while it was still open as a street. The legend goes that since she was a woman of significant means, she was beaten to death for her money. Miss Carmichael’s death hangs over the entire mystery of the story—in fact, the novel opens with a prologue recounting her murder. (Readers who are sensitive to gruesome descriptions of violence may not take kindly to the depiction of her death. This book is not for the faint of heart.)
Author Catherine Cavendish paints a picture of the terrors that are invoked by being around Henderson Close with frightening descriptions. Incidents such as the missing girl and Miss Carmichael’s death are quite vivid, but they are not the only ones. At one point, Hannah’s coworker Mairead is by herself and opens a door when she has a terrifying encounter: “Something brushed her shoulder, caressed her hair, stroked her ear. An insect. God forbid, a spider. She put her hand to brush it away and touched nothing but herself. Whatever it was had moved. It was on her shoulder. She couldn’t breathe. It didn’t feel like an insect anymore. More like . . . she saw it out of the corner of her eye . . . Black, scaly, clawed. Filthy. Crawling down her arm.” The way Cavendish builds the creepy atmosphere makes this book a page turner.
I enjoyed the spooky atmosphere and the mystery The Haunting of Henderson Close provided. If you are looking to be truly scared and like supernatural horror, this suspenseful book is definitely one you will not want to miss.