The Vanishment by Jonathan Aycliffe

Peter and Sarah’s marriage has reached an impasse; their holiday in beautiful Cornwall is chosen to mend old wounds and bandage past pain. The house they go to has space – space for their writing, their painting and their reconciliation. It has space too for its own memories and its own unforgettable horrors . . . but they are not to know that.

When the locals are less than friendly than they might be and when the house sighs with its secrets, the sands of Peter and Sarah’s marriage shift . . . then Sarah vanishes and Peter is left alone. Or is he?

When ghost stories are done well I quite enjoy them and so when I picked this up in the library and read the back I decided to take it on holiday with me.

Peter is a writer and Sarah is an artist and they decide they want to escape to the country for a couple of months to work on their marriage and their separate projects. Peter used to visit Cornwall as a child and was always fascinated by a large, stately house he used to drive past with his family. He managed to track down the solicitors in charge of the house and persuaded them to rent it out to him.

Peter and Sarah first arrive at the house late at night. They find it cold and damp, and in need of a good airing. Sarah gets a bad feeling about the place and is reluctant to spend the night there. Over the next few days, Sarah’s feeling of unease grows and she spends more and more of her time painting, but does not allow Peter to see what she has created. Peter himself is working more efficiently than he ever has and is pleased that he will be able to make the deadline his publisher has set him.

However, one day Sarah goes missing. At first, Peter doesn’t worry too much, thinking she has just gone off to spend some time away from the house but after a couple of days he contacts the police. They are suspicious of his delay in reporting her disappearance but he does his best to explain that he had nothing to do with it. However, as the story continues disquieting facts from Peter’s past begin to emerge.

In Peter’s hunt for the truth he discovers that the house has a history of disappearing women – but is it too late to save Sarah?

I don’t want to give too much away about the ending but it was fairly gripping and well done. I wasn’t a massive fan of the narrative style but overall the actual story was quite good.


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