Widow’s Web – Ursula Curtsis
Ursula Curtiss, like her sister Mary McMullen, wrote stand-alone mysteries and suspense stories. They often featured a dash of romance and the setting of a New England town. In Widow’s Web, the main character is a male reporter who suspects that his partner in journalistic exploits was done in by a wicked woman.
Curtiss grabs us in the first 30 pages, with a gothic atmosphere of suspicion, disbelief, and tension. She’s especially good with the noisy crashes and bangs of everyday life that scare the ever-lovin’ bejesus out of the reader. Like Victor Canning in The Rainbird Pattern, Curtiss contrasts decent people who want to earn what they get with psychopathic predators that unobtrusively exploit, steal, and kill.
She won the Red Badge Mystery Award in 1948 for Voice Out of Darkness. The Forbidden Garden was filmed as What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice? by Palomar Pictures in 1969. Other books by Curtiss are creepily titled The Stairway, Out of the Dark, The Deadly Climate and The Noonday Devil.