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Something Wicked This Way Comes

Something Wicked This Way Comes

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Something Wicked This Way Comes

4/5 (238 Bewertungen)
308 Seiten
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23. Apr. 2013


Few American novels written this century have endured in the heart and mind as has this one-Ray Bradbury's incomparable masterwork of the dark fantastic. A carnival rolls in sometime after the midnight hour on a chill Midwestern October eve, ushering in Halloween a week before its time. A calliope's shrill siren song beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. In this season of dying, Cooger & Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. And two inquisitive boys standing precariously on the brink of adulthood will soon discover the secret of the satanic raree-show's smoke, mazes, and mirrors, as they learn all too well the heavy cost of wishes -- and the stuff of nightmare.

23. Apr. 2013

Über den Autor

Ray Bradbury (22 August 1920 – 5 June 2012) published some 500 short stories, novels, plays and poems since his first story appeared in Weird Tales when he was twenty years old. Among his many famous works are 'Fahrenheit 451,' 'The Illustrated Man,' and 'The Martian Chronicles.'

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Something Wicked This Way Comes - Ray Bradbury

Something Wicked This Way Comes



With love

to the memory of


whose performances

influenced and

changed my life


Man is in love, and loves what vanishes.


They sleep not, except they have done mischief;

And their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall.

For they eat the bread of wickedness,

And drink the wine of violence.

—Proverbs 4:16-17

I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I’ll go to it laughing.

—STUBB in Moby Dick





I. Arrivals

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

II. Pursuits

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

Chapter 44

III. Departures

Chapter 45

Chapter 46

Chapter 47

Chapter 48

Chapter 49

Chapter 50

Chapter 51

Chapter 52

Chapter 53

Chapter 54

Afterword: Carnivals, Near and Far

About the Author

Ray Bradbury

Books by Ray Bradbury


About the Publisher


First of all, it was October, a rare month for boys. Not that all months aren’t rare. But there be bad and good, as the pirates say. Take September, a bad month: school begins. Consider August, a good month: school hasn’t begun yet. July, well, July’s really fine: there’s no chance in the world for school. June, no doubting it, June’s best of all, for the school doors spring wide and September’s a billion years away.

But you take October, now. School’s been on a month and you’re riding easier in the reins, jogging along. You got time to think of the garbage you’ll dump on old man Prickett’s porch, or the hairy-ape costume you’ll wear to the YMCA the last night of the month. And if it’s around October twentieth and everything smoky-smelling and the sky orange and ash gray at twilight, it seems Halloween will never come in a fall of broomsticks and a soft flap of bed-sheets around corners.

But one strange wild dark long year, Halloween came early.

One year Halloween came on October 24, three hours after midnight.

At that time, James Nightshade of 97 Oak Street was thirteen years, eleven months, twenty-three days old. Next door, William Halloway was thirteen years, eleven months and twenty-four days old. Both touched toward fourteen; it almost trembled in their hands.

And that was the October week when they grew up overnight, and were never so young any more. . . .



Chapter 1

The seller of lightning rods arrived just ahead of the storm. He came along the street of Green Town, Illinois, in the late cloudy October day, sneaking glances over his shoulder. Somewhere not so far back, vast lightnings stomped the earth. Somewhere, a storm like a great beast with terrible teeth could not be denied.

So the salesman jangled and clanged his huge leather kit in which oversized puzzles of ironmongery lay unseen but which his tongue conjured from door to door until he came at last to a lawn which was cut all wrong.

No, not the grass. The salesman lifted his gaze. But two boys, far up the gentle slope, lying on the grass. Of a like size and general shape, the boys sat carving twig whistles, talking of olden or future times, content with having left their fingerprints on every movable object in Green Town during summer past and their footprints on every open path between here and the lake and there and the river since school began.

Howdy, boys! called the man all dressed in storm-colored clothes. Folks home?

The boys shook their heads.

Got any money, yourselves?

The boys shook their heads.

Well— The salesman walked about three feet, stopped and hunched his shoulders. Suddenly he seemed aware of house windows or the cold sky staring at his neck. He turned slowly, sniffing the air. Wind rattled the empty trees. Sunlight, breaking through a small rift in the clouds, minted a last few oak leaves all gold. But the sun vanished, the coins were spent, the air blew gray; the salesman shook himself from the spell.

The salesman edged slowly up the lawn.

Boy, he said. What’s your name?

And the first boy, with hair as blond-white as milk thistle, shut up one eye, tilted his head, and looked at the salesman with a single eye as open, bright and clear as a drop of summer rain.

Will, he said. William Halloway.

The storm gentleman turned. "And you?"

The second boy did not move, but lay stomach down on the autumn grass, debating as if he might make up a name. His hair was wild, thick, and the glossy color of waxed chestnuts. His eyes, fixed to some distant point within himself, were mint rock-crystal green. At last he put a blade of dry grass in his casual mouth.

Jim Nightshade, he said.

The storm salesman nodded as if he had known it all along.

Nightshade. That’s quite a name.

And only fitting, said Will Halloway. "I was born one minute before midnight, October thirtieth. Jim was born one minute after midnight, which makes it October thirty-first."

Halloween, said Jim.

By their voices, the boys had told the tale all their lives, proud of their mothers, living house next to house, running for the hospital together, bringing sons into the world seconds apart; one light, one dark. There was a history of mutual celebration behind them. Each year Will lit the candles on a single cake at one minute to midnight. Jim, at one minute after, with the last day of the month begun, blew them out.

So much Will said, excitedly. So much Jim agreed to, silently. So much the salesman, running before the storm, but poised here uncertainly, heard looking from face to face.

Halloway. Nightshade. No money, you say?

The man, grieved by his own conscientiousness, rummaged in his leathery bag and seized forth an iron contraption.

Take this, free! Why? One of those houses will be struck by lightning! Without this rod, bang! Fire and ash, roast pork and cinders! Grab!

The salesman released the rod. Jim did not move. But Will caught the iron and gasped.

Boy, it’s heavy! And funny-looking. Never seen a lightning rod like this. Look, Jim!

And Jim, at last, stretched like a cat, and turned his head. His green eyes got big and then very narrow.

The metal thing was hammered and shaped half-crescent, half-cross. Around the rim of the main rod little curlicues and doohingies had been soldered on, later. The entire surface of the rod was finely scratched and etched with strange languages, names that could tie the tongue or break the jaw, numerals that added to incomprehensible sums, pictographs of insect-animals all bristle, chaff, and claw.

That’s Egyptian. Jim pointed his nose at a bug soldered to the iron. Scarab beetle.

So it is, boy!

Jim squinted. And those there—Phoenician hen tracks.


Why? asked Jim.

Why? said the man. Why the Egyptian, Arabic, Abyssinian, Choctaw? Well, what tongue does the wind talk? What nationality is a storm? What country do rains come from? What color is lightning? Where does thunder go when it dies? Boys, you got to be ready in every dialect with every shape and form to hex the St. Elmo’s fires, the balls of blue light that prowl the earth like sizzling cats. I got the only lightning rods in the world that hear, feel, know, and sass back any storm, no matter what tongue, voice, or sign. No foreign thunder so loud this rod can’t soft-talk it!

But Will was staring beyond the man now.

Which, he said. Which house will it strike?

Which? Hold on. Wait. The salesman searched deep in their faces. Some folks draw lightning, suck it like cats suck babies’ breath. Some folks’ polarities are negative, some positive. Some glow in the dark. Some snuff out. You now, the two of you . . . I—

What makes you so sure lightning will strike anywhere around here? said Jim suddenly, his eyes bright.

The salesman almost flinched. Why, I got a nose, an eye, an ear. Both those houses, their timbers! Listen!

They listened. Maybe their houses leaned under the cool afternoon wind. Maybe not.

Lightning needs channels, like rivers, to run in. One of those attics is a dry river bottom, itching to let lightning pour through! Tonight!

Tonight? Jim sat up, happily.

No ordinary storm! said the salesman. "Tom Fury tells you. Fury, ain’t that a fine name for one who sells lightning rods? Did I take the name? No! Did the name fire me to my occupations? Yes! Grown up, I saw cloudy fires jumping the world, making men hop and hide. Thought: I’ll chart hurricanes, map storms, then run ahead shaking my iron cudgels, my miraculous defenders, in my fists! I’ve shielded and made snug-safe one hundred thousand, count ’em, God-fearing homes. So when I tell you, boys, you’re in dire need, listen! Climb that roof, nail this rod high, ground it in the good earth before nightfall!"

But which house, which! asked Will.

The salesman reared off, blew his nose in a great kerchief, then walked slowly across the lawn as if approaching a huge time bomb that ticked silently there.

He touched Will’s front porch newels, ran his hand over a post, a floorboard, then shut his eyes and leaned against the house to let its bones speak to him.

Then, hesitant, he made his cautious way to Jim’s house next door.

Jim stood up to watch.

The salesman put his hand out to touch, to stroke, to quiver his fingertips on the old paint.

This, he said at last, is the one.

Jim looked proud.

Without looking back, the salesman said, Jim Nightshade, this your place?

Mine, said Jim.

I should’ve known, said the man.

"Hey, what about me?" said Will.

The salesman snuffed again at Will’s house. No, no. Oh, a few sparks’ll jump on your rainspouts. But the real show’s next door here, at the Nightshades’! Well!

The salesman hurried back across the lawn to seize his huge leather bag.

I’m on my way. Storm’s coming. Don’t wait, Jim boy. Otherwise—bamm! You’ll be found, your nickels, dimes and Indian-heads fused by electroplating. Abe Lincolns melted into Miss Columbias, eagles plucked raw on the backs of quarters, all run to quicksilver in your jeans. More! Any boy hit by lightning, lift his lid and there on his eyeball, pretty as the Lord’s Prayer on a pin, find the last scene the boy ever saw! A box-Brownie photo, by God, of that fire climbing down the sky to blow you like a penny whistle, suck your soul back up along the bright stair! Git, boy! Hammer it high or you’re dead come dawn!

And jangling his case full of iron rods, the salesman wheeled about and charged down the walk, blinking wildly at the sky, the roof, the trees, at last closing his eyes, moving, sniffing, muttering. Yes, bad, here it comes, feel it, way off now, but running fast. . . .

And the man in the storm-dark clothes was gone, his cloud-colored hat pulled down over his eyes, and the trees rustled and the sky seemed very old suddenly and Jim and Will stood testing the wind to see if they could smell electricity, the lightning rod fallen between them.

Jim, said Will. "Don’t stand there. Your house, he said. You going to nail up the rod or ain’t you?"

No, smiled Jim. Why spoil the fun?

"Fun! You crazy? I’ll get the ladder! You the hammer, some nails and wire!"

But Jim did not move. Will broke and ran. He came back with the ladder.

"Jim. Think of your mom. You want her burnt?"

Will climbed the side of the house, alone, and looked down. Slowly, Jim moved to the ladder below and started up.

Thunder sounded far off in the cloud-shadowed hills.

The air smelled fresh and raw, on top of Jim Nightshade’s roof.

Even Jim admitted that.

Chapter 2

There’s nothing in the living world like books on water cures, deaths-of-a-thousand-slices, or pouring white-hot lava off castle walls on drolls and mountebanks.

So said Jim Nightshade, that’s all he read. If it wasn’t how to burgle the First National, it was how to build catapults, or shape black bumbershoots into lurking bat costumes for Cabbage Night.

Jim breathed it out all fine.

And Will, he breathed it in.

With the lightning rod nailed to Jim’s roof, Will proud, and Jim ashamed of what he considered mutual cowardice, it was late in the day. Supper over, it was time for their weekly jog to the library.

Like all boys, they never walked anywhere, but named a goal and lit for it, scissors and elbows. Nobody won. Nobody wanted to win. It was in their friendship they just wanted to run forever, shadow and shadow. Their hands slapped library door handles together, their chests broke track tapes together, their tennis shoes beat parallel pony tracks over lawns, trimmed bushes, squirreled trees, no one losing, both winning, thus saving their friendship for other times of loss.

So it was on this night that blew warm, then cool, as they let the wind take them downtown at eight o’clock. They felt the wings on their fingers and elbows flying, then, suddenly plunged in new sweeps of air, the clear autumn river flung them headlong where they must go.

Up steps, three, six, nine, twelve! Slap! Their palms hit the library door.

Jim and Will grinned at each other. It was all so good, these blowing quiet October nights and the library waiting inside now with its green-shaded lamps and papyrus dust.

Jim listened. "What’s that?"

What, the wind?

Like music . . . Jim squinted at the horizon.

Don’t hear no music.

Jim shook his head. Gone. Or it wasn’t even there. Come on!

They opened the door and stepped in.

They stopped.

The library deeps lay waiting for them.

Out in the world, not much happened. But here in the special night, a land bricked with paper and leather, anything might happen, always did. Listen! and you heard ten thousand people screaming so high only dogs feathered their ears. A million folk ran toting cannons, sharpening guillotines; Chinese, four abreast, marched on forever. Invisible, silent, yes, but Jim and Will had the gift of ears and noses as well as the gift of tongues. This was a factory of spices from far countries. Here alien deserts slumbered. Up front was the desk where the nice old lady. Miss Watriss, purple-stamped your books, but down off away were Tibet and Antarctica, the Congo. There went Miss Wills, the other librarian, through Outer Mongolia, calmly toting fragments of Peiping and Yokohama and the Celebes. Way down the third book corridor, an oldish man whispered his broom along in the dark, mounding the fallen spices. . . .

Will stared.

It was always a surprise—that old man, his work, his name.

That’s Charles William Halloway, thought Will, not grandfather, not far-wandering, ancient uncle, as some might think, but . . . my father.

So, looking back down the corridor, was Dad shocked to see he owned a son who visited this separate 20,000-fathoms-deep world? Dad always seemed stunned when Will rose up before him, as if they had met a lifetime ago and one had grown old while the other stayed young, and this fact stood between. . . .

Far off, the old man smiled.

They approached each other, carefully.

Is that you, Will? Grown an inch since this morning. Charles Halloway shifted his gaze. Jim? Eyes darker, cheeks paler; you burn yourself at both ends, Jim?

Heck, said Jim.

No such place as Heck. But hell’s right here under ‘A’ for Alighieri.

Allegory’s beyond me, said Jim.

How stupid of me, Dad laughed. I mean Dante. Look at this. Pictures by Mister Doré, showing all the aspects. Hell never looked better. Here’s souls sunk to their gills in slime. There’s someone upside down, wrongside out.

Boy howdy! Jim eyed the pages two different ways and thumbed on. Got any dinosaur pictures?

Dad shook his head. That’s over in the next aisle. He strolled them around and reached out. "Here we are: Pterodactyl, Kite of Destruction! Or what about Drums of Doom: The Saga of the Thunder Lizards! Pep you up, Jim?"

I’m pepped!

Dad winked at Will. Will winked back. They stood now, a boy with corn-colored hair and a man with moon-white hair, a boy with a summer-apple, a man with a winter-apple face. Dad, Dad, thought Will, why, why, he looks . . . like me in a smashed mirror!

And suddenly Will remembered nights rising at two in the morning to go to the bathroom and spying across town to see that one single light in the high library window and know Dad had lingered on late murmuring and reading alone under these green jungle lamps. It made Will sad and funny to see that light, to know the old man—he stopped to change the word—his father, was here in all this shadow.

Will, said the old man who was also a janitor who happened to be his father, what about you?

Huh? Will shook himself.

You need a white-hat or a black-hat book?

Hats? said Will.

Well, Jim— they perambulated, Dad running his fingers along the book spines—he wears the black ten-gallon hats and reads books to fit. Middle name’s Moriarty, right, Jim? Any day now he’ll move up from Fu Manchu to Machiavelli here—medium-size dark fedora. Or over along to Dr. Faustus—extra large black Stetson. That leaves the white-hat boys to you, Will. Here’s Gandhi. Next door is St. Thomas. And on the next level, well . . . Buddha.

You don’t mind, said Will, "I’ll settle for The Mysterious Island."

What, asked Jim, scowling, is all this talk about white and black hats?

Why— Dad handed Jules Verne to Will—it’s just, a long time ago, I had to decide, myself, which color I’d wear.

So, said Jim, "which did you pick?"

Dad looked surprised. Then he laughed, uneasily.

Since you need to ask, Jim, you make me wonder. Will, tell Mom I’ll be home soon. Get out of here, both of you. Miss Watriss! he called softly to the librarian at the desk. Dinosaurs and mysterious islands, coming up!

The door slammed.

Outside, a weather of stars ran clear in an ocean sky.

Heck. Jim sniffed north, Jim sniffed south. "Where’s the storm? That darn salesman promised. I just got to watch that lightning fizz down my drainpipes!"

Will let the wind ruffle and refit his clothes, his skin, his hair. Then he said, faintly, It’ll be here. By morning.

Who says?

"The huckleberries all down my arms. They say."


The wind flew Jim away.

A similar kite, Will swooped to follow.

Chapter 3

Watching the boys vanish away, Charles Halloway suppressed a sudden urge to run with them, make the pack. He knew what the wind was doing to them, where it was taking them, to all the secret places that were never so secret again in life. Somewhere in him, a shadow turned mournfully over. You had to run with a night like

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  • (5/5)
    Excellent! More than just a mystery/thriller, it also is a study in aging and dealing with a parent's death.
  • (5/5)
    There Was an Old Woman is labeled as a suspense novel, and I suppose that's technically true. To my mind, however, it is also a wake-up call to all of us about how easily in real life vulnerable old people, particularly women, are being taken advantage of all too often. You are old, maybe neglected, live alone and possibly have physical and/or mental issues. That makes you an easy target for unscrupulous con artists, maybe even relatives who want what little you have. In this wonderful novel each character is so real that the reader really cares about them, or hates them and enjoys seeing their plans go awry. Evie Ferrante is our heroine. She is a curator at the Five-Boroughs Historical Society and she is shepherding a historical artifact from the Empire State Building to feature in her first exhibition. The topic is major fires in New York City, a natural for her since her beloved father had been a firefighter. It was not a good time for her sister to call and demand her help because their mother was hospitalized in bad shape.That takes Evie back to the neighborhood where she grew up and into the middle of a terrible mess. Mom is an alcoholic and her house looks like a hoarder's. There doesn't appear to have been any maintenance done on the house in years and it is literally falling apart. Evie is sad and discouraged, but when she talks to the neighbor Mina Yetner, the woman becomes a link to the happier past and a friend. She also meets other neighbors and the man who has taken over his father's general store down the street. He at least is good looking and intelligent, and he is very helpful in her attempts to make the house safe and clean. Mina's nephew on the other hand is obviously up to no good as he seems to spend more and more time with her, and try to keep Evie away.I was so involved in this story I could hardly put the book down. I figured out early in the book what was happening, although I under-estimated the extent of the crimes. It was the characters who kept me turning the pages, cheering for the old women and hoping Evie could save them from the evil in their midst. It is a psychological rather than violent mystery, but there is a bit of violence involved. I guarantee you will be horrified at the damage done to the victims in the story.I also enjoyed the history of New York City that is a large part of the story and I think you will too. This is a unique novel and I enjoyed every page of it.Highly recommendedSource: Publisher through Partners in Crime Book Tours
  • (4/5)
    I like mysteries such as this. It's books like Hallie Ephron's that recommend to readers of this genre looking for a new author. Like Laura Lippman, Ephron has created a story that is enthralling enough that many avid readers can finish it in a weekend easily and enjoy the entire process. I know I did!
  • (3/5)
    There Was an Old Woman by Hallie Ephron is a light, enjoyable, character-driven suspense novel. I liked it enough to rate it three stars, but I don’t imagine that it will please most readers. The novel sits awkwardly between two genres—literary and suspense. Other authors succeed splendidly with that combination, but Hallie Ephron manages to shortchange both. The work does not have enough substance to please literary readers, and it does not have enough face-paced, adrenaline-pumping tension to please those readers who read this genre because they like to feel suspense. Hallie Ephron is a technically good and stylish writer and this is an agreeable book…it is just not a particularly interesting book. The plot is comparatively realistic…not too far from what one might expect could happen in an otherwise normal suburban community in this cut-throat day and age. The plot builds slowly as the author takes more time than usual (in typical suspense novels) to develop her two main characters. I liked these women: Evie, a thirties-something curator at a New York historical society, and Mina, an early-nineties neighbor of Evie’s mother. The book effectively shifts third person point of view between these two women. The book takes place over the course of a few weeks, in the present day, mostly in fictional Higgs Point, New York—a marshy peninsula of land jutting out between the East River and Long Island Sound. Evie’s mother and her elderly neighbor, Mina, have lived there for many years. Evie was raised there. As the book opens, Evie’s mother is being rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. When Evie arrives to take care of matters, she soon sees that there is a great deal amiss in her mother’s life and in the lives of her mother’s neighbors. Much of the waterfront property in this modest middle-income community of older homes seems to be changing owners and quickly being demolished. Bad things are happening to the former owners. The adjacent marsh is threatened. Eventually, as Mina gets caught up in a growing web of deception, her well-being is seriously threatened. Two thirds of the way through the novel, readers pretty much know who the bad guys are and what is probably happening. This is typical of suspense novels where readers generally know what is happening before the characters do...that’s often how a lot of the suspense is created. Eventually, in the final pages, readers learn all the side details of the plot and find out why. As I said earlier, it is a simple plot without much substance…but the characters are realistically drawn and appealing and the writing is good. I am not unhappy that I read this novel, but I doubt I will recommend it to anyone I know.
  • (5/5)
    This book is what suspense novels should read like; building tension using everyday life and then putting one aspect askew so that you question what is real and what is imagined. No gimmicks, no car chases just disturbing incidents that feel too close to home. I’m giving There was an Old Woman 5 stars because I had trouble putting it down; reading it in two days.Mina is an elderly widow who has lived most of her life in a cozy neighborhood overlooking a marsh with views of the Manhattan skyline. Content in her home with her cat Ivory, she spends her days making lists of friends and family who have passed away. Her biggest problem is her memory, but at her age memory loss happens, and hers isn’t as bad as her nephew thinks it is; or is it? His constant pestering about putting her into assisted living is upsetting. Then things get more complicated when her long-time neighbor is rushed to the hospital and, in the ambulance, she asks Mina to call to her daughter adding a whispered cryptic message. Elsie, one of her neighbors’ daughters, discovers things are much worse with their mother and moves home only to realize that something mysterious is happening in the old neighborhood. This one will keep you guessing. When it comes to suspense, Hallie Ephron knows her stuff. ARC Amazon Vine program.
  • (4/5)
    I'm not a big suspense/thriller reader, but something about Hallie Ephron's novel, There Was An Old Woman caught my eye. Maybe it was the nursery rhyme title or maybe it was the fact that one of the major characters is an independent woman in her 80s.Either way, I'm glad I read this unique novel. The book opens with Mina reading the obituaries in the Daily News. She spies the name of one of her neighbors and adds the name and date to her notebook. (The neighbor is number 151.)Mina hears an ambulance and discovers another neighbor being taken out on a stretcher. The neighbor tells Mina to call her daughter Ginger and then says, "Please tell Ginger. Don't let him in until I'm gone."And with those cryptic words she is loaded into the ambulance. Mina calls Ginger, who calls her sister Evie and tells her it is Evie's turn to care for their bitter, angry, alcoholic mother. Evie reluctantly agrees and, after seeing her mother in the hospital, heads to her mother's house and is shocked by what she sees.The house looks like an episode of Hoarders: garbage everywhere, a broken window, rotting food, dirty dishes and empty cat food tins. But her mother doesn't have a cat. And where did she get the brand new big flat screen TV on the wall?There is a neighbor whom Evie doesn't know who has been hanging around her mother, and Evie doesn't trust him. Evie goes to visit Mina, and Mina tells her that several homes in their Higgs Point neighborhood have burned, or been sold and torn down. A developer is trying to buy up all the property on the cheap.Evie stops in to the local neighborhood store and sees that it is run by the son of the owner. He tells her that he has formed a non-profit to try and save the neighborhood from the developers, and encourages her to join him.Mina's nephew wants to move her into an assisted living home so that he can get his hands on her home. Strange things start happening to Mina- she loses important papers, leaves the stove on, gets knocked down by a car backing up. Is her nephew up to no good or is it too much for her to continue to live on her own?Mina and Evie are curious to find out what is going on in the neighborhood and who is behind it. They make a great team and their characters are so appealing. Evie feels guilt about not keeping in touch with her mother (who doesn't make it easy) and I think many readers will relate to her.But for me, Mina is the real star. I love this character! She seems like the neighbor we all know, with her fastidious ways and fierce independence. She misses her beloved sister, whom she lived with for many years, but she continues on with her life.The mystery keeps you guessing, and although I thought I knew who did it, I didn't know the all-important why. The writing is crisp, and this is the perfect book for a rainy day read.
  • (4/5)
    I picked this off the shelf at the library because I liked the title. Imagine my surprise when an old woman featured in one of the lead roles. The secret to invisibility is to be a middle-aged woman; that’s when it starts, by the time you’re over 50 almost no one ever notices you. Mina, the woman in the story, certainly knows this. I liked her a lot and felt a great sympathy for how people treated her, something I’m careful about when dealing with my own aging parents. Despite their frailty, memory lapses or illness, most elderly people are still fully-functioning adults. Treating them like children does them a huge disservice and many of them get run roughshod because they lack the energy for confrontation.Anyway, the writing was fluid and occasionally insightfully funny like when Mina is touring a retirement community (against her wishes) with her nephew and is feeling pretty down about the general decrepitude of the people so far when she turns a corner and finds that it isn’t “all shuffle and nap”. The underlying plot though, is easy to spot. Clearly someone or a team of someones wants people out of their homes so that the valuable real estate can be had on the cheap and turned into big profits. The question is who is dirty dealing. Again, it’s not too hard to spot the villain if you’re used to books with red herrings and people who are too good to be true. Enjoyable though and I’ll read more of Hallie Ephron if I can find more.
  • (5/5)
    There Was An Old WomanByHalle EphronMy " in a nutshell" summary...A neighborhood by the beach and a few odd mysteries...two women determined to discover the truth!My thoughts after reading this book...Whoa...this was a fast paced knuckle chomping chilling thrilling amazing story. I loved it...To simplify...Evie comes to take care of her mom...who still lives in the neighborhood she and her sister grew up in. Her mom is a drinker...not doing well at all. She is in the hospital and Evie goes to her mother's house where she finds horrible filth and messes and a huge flat screen tv and envelopes of cash. This is where the creepy mystery evil part starts. Her next door neighbor is still living in the 'hood and weird things are happening to her, too...I am not the kind of reviewer who is going to analyze all of these events for you. There are a ton of things going on in this little waterfront neighborhood. The land is valuable and people want it and seem to be capable of doing anything to get it. Mina is the neighbor and she is delightful as is her cat Ivory. Mina has to deal with the creepy actions of her own nephew as she and Evie grow close and put their heads together to determine what is going on.What I loved about the book...I loved both female leading characters. I loved their strength. I loved Mina's sense of humor and thought processing. Mina felt very real to me.What I did not love about this book...I didn't enjoy worrying about Mina and Ivory. I loved Mina and my tenseness while reading this book came from worrying about what her evil nephew was doing to her.Final thoughts...Ooooh...this is a yummy yummy book. It's fast and fascinating and has characters you will root for and characters you will question and dislike. It's so fast paced you will finish it before you know it!Enjoy!This book came to me from the publisher via Edelweiss via Amazon via my very own Kindle Paperwhite!
  • (5/5)
    When you turn that last page and say to yourself "this can't be all" you know you've read a good one.I loved the characters, the setting, Evie's job, and the mystery. Had a hunch about the villain but was only partially right. Will have to check out more from this author
  • (4/5)
    Good book. Although I knew from the start who some (not all) of the baddies were, I was in suspense about how many lives would be destroyed before they were discovered. The characters were mostly well developed and I rooted for Mina; I really wanted her to be a survivor.
  • (4/5)
    An intriguing mystery with well-developed characters. I almost want to call this a cozy but it isn't, not quite The mystery was quite easy to unravel but I found myself interested in the characters, especially the relationship between the sisters and their mother. As well as the side story of their aging neighbour. History plays a major theme throughout in many roles as main character Evie is an historical preservationist by trade and finds past places and stories crossing her path as she tries to deal with her mother's sudden terminal illness, perhaps murder.
  • (4/5)
    As Sandra Ferrante is taken to the hospital she gives a message to her very elderly neighbor, Mina. The message is, “Don’t let him in until I’m gone.” Mina writes it down, knowing she risks forgetting it. She calls Ginger, the daughter who is always there to help poor Sandra.However, it is Evie’s turn to go back to the old neighbourhood and help their mother. Shocked at the appalling condition of the house and confused by the over-eager neighbor puts Evie on guard.Then while cleaning up the house Evie finds envelopes of money, amidst the alcohol bottles and trash. Yet in the middle of the deplorable condition also sits a brand new flat-screen TV. Things continue to get increasingly strange for Sandra, Evie, and even Mina.Mina’s nephew is pressuring her to move to a residential community, away from her home on the waterfront. Evie thinks Mina should consider the idea. As they develop a relationship, they have to rely on each other as things turn very sinister for both.
  • (4/5)
    There is nothing that makes me angrier than someone preying on the elderly or on children. This is not a spoiler because the reader learn early on what is happening and to a certain extent why. So if that is the case than what does the reader want t read the book for. Ninety year old Mina, who is very feisty and has a memorable past. Two daughters, Eve and Ginger, who need to forgive their mother and learn something about their past that changes their view of her. There is a twist at the end, everything is not as apparent as one thinks. I like this author, her novels are suspenseful without being gory and the plot is solid.
  • (4/5)
    Arguably, There Was an Old Woman is a New York sort of mystery. There's very little violence or gore. Instead, we are drawn in by Ephron's descriptions of Higgs Point as a neighborhood, the period finishings in Mina Yetner's home, the description of the young curator's job and her upcoming exhibit of the history of the Empire State Building.Through the story of Mina Yetner, Ephron takes us to the Depression and what it was like for a young woman working her first job in New York City and in the iconic Empire State Building. Mina's choice to work came at a time of freedom and employment for women and as we read Mina's story, we're drawn in, imagining this unique time. It struck me that in There Was an Old Woman, the main, pivotal characters, those that carry the action forward are women from the young art historian and curator to Mina, who in her youth moved to New York City to build a life and worked at the Empire State Building.Not that the book lacks mystery. There is psychological suspense as we wonder whether the events that Mina describes are actually happening or if she's slowly deteriorating. There is drama as well - families divided by alcoholism, greed, and disappointment. There's romance with the dashing lawyer who has stopped practicing law and has opted to run his family business, the corner store.Ephron's writing is clear, I focused completely on the characters and story, drawn into the build up and development without noticing anything else. I kept wondering what would happen next. If you're looking for a fun read set in New York City, check out There Was an Old Woman by Hallie Ephron.ISBN-10: 0062117602 - Hardcover $26Publisher: William Morrow (April 2, 2013), 304 pages.Review copy courtesy of the publisher.
  • (5/5)
    Although There was an Old Woman was not at all what I expected, I was pleasantly surprised. I also think that this is one of the better books I’ve read so far this year. While it doesn't have the intensity that is usually consistent with a psychological thriller, I still think it belongs in that category. If you are waiting for a slasher to jump out and cut someone’s throat, this isn’t the book for you, but if you like a slower steady story that reaches a climax and has well-developed characters, you will like There was an Old Woman.It was a good story that held my interest but I also found myself totally annoyed with the main character. The family dynamics with sisters’ resentment of each other and their mother plays a large role in the story.Evie is called to her childhood home to help her hospitalized mother. She finds that in a short amount of time her mother’s home and health have inexplicably deteriorated dramatically. Evie becomes involved in events that surround her mother’s neighbor, Mina, an active 91 year old.Mina is a wonderful portrayal of this elderly character. She is determined and active, but not the stereotypical depiction I often see of the wise crackin’ grandma. She is strong, but reserved and refined.My only disappointment was that the mysterious story from Mina’s past of Mina was lacking the drama I expected, but did still enjoy the book very much.
  • (1/5)
    I don't usually rate or review a book I haven't finished, and I only got through roughly 40% of this one, but I'm definitely DONE with it, and the process up till now was such a tortuous and deeply unpleasant one that I think the best way to get it out of my system is to bitch about it a little (or a lot). It's a good thing I've read and enjoyed several things by Ray Bradbury before, because had this been my only experience of him I'd have sworn him off forever and ever based on this single experience, because yes, it was THAT dreadful. To be clear, in the month of October, I like to read some horror fiction, so the spookiness factor had nothing to do with my unpleasant impression of this book. What I was spooked with was how convoluted every single SENTENCE was. How not a single paragraph was straightforward. Like advancing through a deep fog of nightmare. If that was what Bradbury set out to do, to create this incredibly gross impression, as opposed to just telling a story, then he succeeded. So much so that I lost all interest in finding out what the story was all about because who gives a fuck at this point? The experience was akin to biting down on a fork repeatedly, or constant screechings on a chalkboard (remember those?), or flyaway hairs persistently getting on your face, or any number of deeply annoying things you just want to END because they will infuriate you to no end. Everything had to be a simile of a simile of a simile like that labyrinth of mirrors in the carnival he mentions again and again. And for what Mr. Bradbury? What was the fucking point? And why do so many of my friends LOVE this book??? Whatever the reason, I have only so much patience, and you've taken up too much of it with this insufferable dredge. I was put off right from the beginning with the style he employed and I thought I'd try to stick with it because "this is Ray Bradbury after all", but really I should have stuck with my first instinct and dropped it right away because my latest effort at trying to get into the spirit of the thing has put me in a terrible mood indeed and I am livid, because one thing I've come expect from my reading life more than ever is a safe escape from the insufferably annoying nightmare which is living in 2018. /rant over.
  • (4/5)
    Bradbury's language is mesmerizing in this audiobook.. I think of this as a lyrical parable or allegory (not up on my definitions) of good and evil and the choices we make in life and the value of living your life without rushing forward, or longing to go back. It's also a very effective view of small town life in the middle of America. Glad I read it.
  • (2/5)
    This book was not for me. I didn't abhor it, but reading it was an effort.
  • (3/5)
    Wow! This book has received so much praise since it was released that I finally decided to read it. I definitely never read it as a kid. So some books can stand the test of time and even though life, and language and technology change the story if well told survives. That was most definitely not the case for me, regarding this story.I have no idea when this story was supposed to take place but the way the dialogue drags, it could have been the late 1800’s or early 1900’s , or heck I don’t know the 1940’s or 1950’s. But this was one terribly uninteresting story.And while you can definitely see how this book influenced Stephen King, Mr King’s books are far more readable, and better.
  • (4/5)
    A classic book. It's not my favorite work by Bradbury, but it's a close second to The Martian Chronicles.
  • (3/5)
    I first read this book some 50-odd years ago, back when I read everything of Ray Bradbury I could get my hands on...well before I moved on to everything John Updike, and then everything Cormac McCarthy. Derived from a short story Bradbury had written and then revived so he could write a screen story for a movie for Gene Kelly of all people, the book was a rebirth again, and, if you're still counting, you can add the further adjustments from the book for the screenplay for the Disney movie, so don't go watching the movie thinking it's the same as the book. There are several differences. As the title suggests, the story line is a bit creepy. It's a morality play, really. Good. Evil. (Plenty of evil.) Strength. Weakness. (No shortage of weakness.) But there is a loving father and two very good childhood friends. If you like the loving bonds of family and friendship doing battle with very creepy evil, you will like this book. I thought the book was unnecessarily wordy at times. Even one of the characters discusses the problem. Also, the author, who published the book when he was only about 42 years of age, keeps talking about how decrepit a man in his early 50s is. That bothered me. It may not bother you. Hopefully, the author eventually changed his viewpoint on that, sometime before he died at age 91.
  • (4/5)
    Halloween comes a week early in this excellently creepy carnival story. I'm not sure why I thought it was a good idea to read this at night while home alone, but that was a poor decision! This wasn't what I imagined when I thought of Bradbury's writing and I was pleasantly surprised to see how much I enjoyed this (as much as one can "enjoy" horror)
  • (5/5)
    Lyrical writing, very enjoyable... Started it on 10/23, so as to be in the spirit of it all!
  • (4/5)
    I think this is the third time I've read this book, which is way more than I've read most books (yeah, it's a favorite). I love Bradbury's language as much as I ever have. I wouldn't want to write that way myself, and I'm happy that most authors don't, but for whatever reason, he can pull it off. But as I get older, the "old" characters in the book don't seem all that old any more (!). And the story is starting to feel dated generally. But I still enjoyed reading it, and it was just right for reading in the days before Halloween.
  • (4/5)
    "By the pricking of my thumbs
    Something wicked this way comes". Shakespeare

    "So vague, yet so immense.
    He did not want to live with it.
    Yet he knew, during this night, unless he lived with it very well, he might have to live with it all the rest of his life."
  • (4/5)
    A fine, well-crafted scary novel. Not as good as Fahrenheit 451, but definitely solidifies Ray Bradbury as an excellent author in my opinion.

    Terrifying and dripping with atmosphere, Something Wicked is one of the better horror novels I've read. And, as Ray says in his afterword, you can picture each scene playing out as he describes it. I have to go back and watch the movie now.
  • (1/5)
    What am I missing here? This was terrible. The style was like a dyslexic Yoda pounding a typewriter with an old boot.
  • (5/5)
    Bradbury has contrived an fantastical and exciting Gogol-esque tale about evil and desire, but in the end, SWTWC a moving tale about youth, childhood and nostalgia.
  • (5/5)
    An impressive look at the darker side of human nature.
  • (5/5)
    I read this book as a teenager. Not long ago, I had reason to read it again. I noticed something that didn't entirely register the first time: Bradbury can really write.This book's descriptions come at you at high speed. Bradbury doesn't choose among his figures of speech. He chooses all.He can lay back, as in the opening sentence: "The seller of lightning rods arrived just ahead of the storm." He can lay back, but he usually doesn't. For example: At dawn, a juggernaut of thunder wheeled over the stony heavens in a spark-throwing tumult. Rain fell softly on town cupolas, chucked from rainspouts, and spoke in strange subterranean tongues beneath the windows where Jim and Will knew fitful dreams, slipping out of one, trying another for size, but finding all cut from the same dark, mouldered cloth.Bradbury's over-the-top descriptions work because they are over the top. If Bradbury had held back, Something Wicked would have lost the passionate intensity that makes it stay with me. It might read more easily, but it would be a shadow of itself. There would be no reason to look back as an adult and say, "I remember."