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Ammie, Come Home: 05/25/15

cover art

Ammie, Come Home by Barbara Michaels is the first of the Georgetown gothic mysteries by Barbara Michaels. I read it after reading the last in the series, Stitches in Time first (not realizing it was part of a trilogy).

It's the close of the 1960s and Ruth, a 40s something widow is having her niece, Sara, over to stay. Things begin to go awry when she is dropped off by her college professor — a man clearly going through a midlife crises — as seen through his choice of dress and his cute little sports car.

Sara begins having trouble sleeping, thinking she's hearing a neighbor call for a missing bet named Sammie. But soon it's apparent that it can't be a missing pet. It has to be something more sinister. Perhaps the house is haunted? Or maybe it's all one big prank?

The haunting is an excuse to drag out gender roles and gender politics — hot topics for Barbara Michaels / Elizabeth Peters early works. Although she does still include explorations of gender roles, she was tempered them and hidden them better in her plots. The Georgetown trilogy seems the most rife with gender politics of any of her books or series and the politics get in the way of an otherwise interesting (albeit formulaic) haunted house story.

As I was reading it, I had a nagging sense of deja vu, and not just from having read the last book in the series. I attributed the feeling to the fact I was also reading The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong as the ghosts Chloƫ keeps encountering seem to be hiding in all the same places as the ones in Ruth's home.

But no, the post on the Gothic Romance Forum snapped it all into place for me. There was an ABC made for TV movie in 1970. I'm sure I watched it in reruns on my grandmother's cable. I went through a phase where I watched every single horror film I could find on cable (as this was before video rental stores or streaming media).

Three stars

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