Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Guest Post by Andrew Hammond (author of CRYPT: The Gallows Curse)

Thursday sees the publication date of CRYPT: The Gallows Curse by Andrew Hammond. I read and really enjoyed this book a while ago thanks to nice people at Headline, and I had hoped to get up to Edinburgh for the festival, and the official launch of the book, but unfortunately hotel prices were stupidly expensive. At that launch Andrew told a very funny story about the time he smelt a ghost, and this anecdote was so well received that Andrew and the nice people at Headline thought it should reach a larger audience, and so here it is for your delectation:

We used to live in a big old Victorian terraced house in North Yorkshire. I remember the day we moved in – my brothers and I spent hours sliding down the long, wooden banisters that ran right up through the middle of the house, while my parents heaved and puffed with boxes. 

A few days on and we started to detect something strange. At around about six or seven o’clock each evening we’d notice a smell. It was just like fried garlic and onions. It lingered for about an hour or so and then drifted away.

The third time it happened we went next door to see if anyone was cooking. They weren’t. We went to the other side – they weren’t. We went up and down that terrace asking if anyone was cooking onions and they weren’t. God knows what they thought of us.

We all traipsed back inside and were overwhelmed by the same smell. It wasn’t unpleasant, just odd.

My father led us all through the house, searching for the source of the smell. Eventually we traced it to a cupboard on the first floor. It wasn’t used for anything in particular, just for storing towels and linen. There was no boiler or water tank, so we knew it wasn’t that. But when my father opened the door the rich smell of fried onions and garlic wafted into our nostrils.

My father had an idea. Silently he led us downstairs and we waited in the kitchen while he disappeared into his office. He returned with some old files and fished out an old, faded piece of paper, folded in half. He opened it and we could all see it was the plans to the house – very old sketches by the looks of them.

They were the Victorian floor plans. I watched my father’s finger as it traced the line of the stairs, past the bedrooms to the place where the cupboard was. That’s when we all noticed it. This little corner of the landing had a few words scribbled next to it – ‘SERVANT STAIRWAY TO KITCHEN.’


My huge thanks go to Andrew for taking the time to write this story out for The Book Zone. Please watch this space for my review of CRYPT: The Gallows Curse, as well as for your chance to win a signed copy of the book.

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