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The House on East 88th Street: 06/17/18

The House on East 88th Street

You've heard the rumors of crocodiles and alligators living in the sewers of New York City. You've heard the stories of the marvelous old brownstone with a horrific past. And yet they are so desirable, so charming, that people keep buying them, even the ones with dubious paths. That is the set up to The House on East 88th Street by Bernard Waber.

East 88th Street runs West / East in the northern portion of the Upper East Side. It's close to Harlem but not in Harlem. It's not the place a respectable middle class family would expect any problems with their new brownstone. Which makes it exactly the place narrationally, one will expect trouble in their home.

The Primms, while moving in, hear strange splashing and gurgling noises in their bathroom. OK... maybe it's the plumbing. Those old pipes can get air in them. They can rattle through the floors. Nope. It's a crocodile living in the bathtub!

They are made aware that Lyle's previous owner, a retired vaudevillian, will be coming back but they are given instructions for keeping Lyle happy while he's off making arrangements. Lyle in this regard is like Eugene from the delightfully goofy New Zealand horror film, Housebound.

Like Eugene, bad things happen when Lyle does leave the brownstone. Lyle is unhappy. The Primms are unhappy. The vaudevillian is looked at suspiciously as the era of vaudeville ended thirty years before. Sometimes you have to exorcise your unwanted guests and sometimes you don't.

Five stars

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