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The Murdered House    by Pierre Magnan order for
Murdered House
by Pierre Magnan
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2009 (2009)
* * *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

In a small village in Provénce, France, on St. Michael's Eve (September 28) in 1898, gothic terror descends upon the isolated coach-house inn and home of the Monge family. Three generations of family members are brutally murdered, and only a three-week-old infant is miraculously spared.

Now, when the chilling action of The Murdered House continues, Séraphin Monge, the sole survivor of the massacre, returns to the village in 1919. He survived life in an orphanage, and - more significantly - he made it through the horrors of the Great War. Now Monge has inherited the desolate, abandoned house, and the meager residue of the family estate - 1250 francs and 50 centimes. Taking a job on a road building crew, Monge has a fateful encounter with Old Burle, a road builder who remembers the carnage of 1898.

With grisly details, Old Burle tells the quiet, hulking Monge the story that he had not heard before: the story of his family's murder. In particular, Monge is deeply affected by the details of his mother's fate.

However, Old Burle shares something else that profoundly influences Monge. 'It can't have happened like that,' says Old Burle because 'you see, there was too much mystery in ... your father's past ... There was something wrong there.'

With little more to go on than Old Burle's tale, young Monge is transformed. First, he begins to destroy the scene of the crime, as if that would make the macabre past disappear. Then, as he begins to discover even more troubling realities about his family's past, Monge turns his mind to revenge. However, someone else has anticipated the vengeful son, and something powerful and sinister begins to move The Murdered House toward a horrifying climax.

Tense, atmospheric, and chilling, The Murdered House further establishes Pierre Magnan's much deserved reputation as a master of macabre mysteries and intellectual feasts. Enjoy!

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