Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Horror Fiction Help VII: The Sinister Chauffeur

Okay guys, I've got another horror novel for us to find. Reader Tim sent me a note earlier today:
In 1980 or 1981 I read a paperback which I bought at a supermarket or drugstore. I think the book was published by Zebra or Leisure or another that I would have thought of as a cheapo publisher. What I remember about the book is that it was about a kid who was made to live in a creepy boarding school/orphanage. I also seem to remember a ride in a limousine with a sinister chauffeur. Other than that, all I remember is how spooky the book's atmosphere and setting were.
This reminds me of a couple books I haven't read in decades: Robert Marasco's Burnt Offerings and Peter Straub's Shadowland. However I really don't think they're quite it. So - thoughts anybody?
Update 5/14: Found!


A Cheverton said...

The description made me think instantly of Shadowland before I read your comment. Many, many years since I read it, though, so I can't be sure.

Zwolf said...

This may not be much help because I haven't actually read the book, but could it be _Toys In The Attic_ by Daniel Ransom? It's a 1986 Zebra book, so it's later than 1980 or '81, but just in case you might be remembering the year differently, here's the back cover copy:

"Brian guessed he should have been grateful when Mr. Stockbridge pressed the tin soldier into his hand. It wasn't every child at Windhaven Orphanage who received a present from the formidable Raymond Stockbridge. But Brian wasn't happy at all. In fact, Brian was scared...

His best friend Davey had disappeared and already his clothes and comic books had vanished -- as if Davey had never existed. But Brian knew his friend's most secret hiding place. And there, with a chill of terror, he found another tin soldier exactly like the one Mr. Stockbridge had given him.

It was all a deadly game -- and now it was Brian's turn to play."

You can see a picture of the cover here:


There was also Runaway by Stephen Gresham, about some kid who ran away from home and ended up at a homeless shelter for kids. Again, I haven't read that one, either. It was Zebra, 1988.

May not be the ones, but I figure it's worth a guess...

Scott F said...

Definitely not "Burnt Offerings," FWIW. That one was about a young married couple summering at a strange old house with an unseen matriarch living in the house with them.

Tim Botta said...

The mystery is solved! The book is "Unholy Mourning" by David Lippincott. I have been leafing through it and it's definitely the book I read. There is a parochial school called St. Etienne in it, and the "sinister chauffeur" must be the assistant named Pasteur. The book was actually published in November 1982. I appreciate everyone's help in suggesting books based on such limited information. Thank you, Will, for posting the cover the other day--the cover struck me the moment I saw it as "the book."