Setting: Modern Day
It was then that I noticed a slight, acrid scent in the air. A sulphur odor, as though someone had been burning matches.
Matches! I turned to the bedside table and there it was, a pile of burnt matchsticks stuck into the base of the lamp exactly as it had been before. I had wondered then what it was that Julia had been doing. Now I did not have to wonder. I knew.
For a moment I stood, stricken, too horrified to move. My heart was beating so hard that I could feel its pounding in my head. The matches, the lamp, the table, swam before my eyes.
So this was why Julia had seemed so lighthearted in the face of my threats! She had no intention of letting me bring Professor Jarvis or anyone else to talk to my parents. Somewhere in this house at this very moment there was a little wax figure in which were embedded some orange hairs, taken no doubt from the brush on the bureau. Whenever she chose, Julia would begin to melt it.
Or had she began to do so already? Even as I asked myself the question, a blinding pain shot through my head directly behind my eyes. Terrified, I staggered backward and fell upon the bed, clapping my hands against my temples.
Back Cover Synopsis:
Why is Rachel the only one to sense the evil that surrounds Julia?
From the moment Rachel's cousin Julia arrives the summer, she seems to seep into Rachel's life like a poison. Everyone else is enchanted by her...including Rachel's boyfriend. But what does Julia really want?
Rachel's perfect life and her close relationship with family and friends comes to a screeching halt once her long lost cousin Julia arrives. Julia has just lost both her parents, but it seems she's willing to take away everything that Rachel holds dear!
First her boyfriend, then the trust and respect of her parents. Rachel just knows that Julia is evil She is perfectly aware that something is not quite right with Julia. And when she contacts an old friend from Julia's school, whom reacts to her serious questions with a protective, vicious regard from the girl, Rachel is almost positive something is not right. Julia, as a person, is not adding up...she is the perfect contrast to the girl her parents and friends describe...and yet, she's there in the flesh.
I don't want to give away any spoilers that would make this book less interesting and exciting but it really does end with a bang.
The story line reads very much like the vintage gothic romances, which doesn't surprise me as I'm sure Lois Duncan was inspired by the stories of her time, as this book was written in the mid-seventies back when the vintage gothic was at it's prime for publication.
I've read it several times now, and it's always just as exciting.
Includes some great elements like witchcraft, stolen identity, secrets and murder....what more could you look for in a good horror/mystery read?