Monday, June 04, 2012
The Secret Room of Eidt House by Dorothy Bodoin
Cover art by Pat Evans
Purchase link to The Secret Room of Eidt House
A rabid dog that should have died months ago from the dread disease runs free in the woods of Foxglove Corners, and the familiar library's long-kept secret unleashes a series of other strange events.
Will Jennet's wish for a little spice in her summer lead to her own death?
We stepped over the threshold into the dim silence, almost afraid to move. At least, that was my reaction. I had an eerie feeling someone had just left the room and that person would return any minute demanding to know the reason for our intrusion.
How silly! No one had been in this pretty room for decades. The air was close and dusty. Miss Eidt sneezed and held a white handkerchief to her face.
I stood entranced by the room's appointments, noticing items and details I'd missed at first glance. The sleigh bed was made up in blue gingham and white with a red flowered duvet. The small rustic table near the bed looked as if it had been fashioned by hand from logs and twigs. It held a book and a framed, sepia-toned photograph of a young man. A beribboned straw hat lay on one of the chairs, and there were blue and white striped bows everywhere.
The vase in the center of the table was empty, as was a tarnished silver tea service complete with two bone china teacups in a busy floral pattern.
"I'd like a room exactly like this in my house," I said, already planning which one to convert and where I would buy the furnishings and decorations.
Miss Eidt picked up the vase. It was obviously expensive, heavy crystal with a starburst pattern. "The bottom is stained, discolored. I wonder if there were fresh flowers in it all those years ago."
"I doubt it. They'd still be here, even if they had crumbled to powder."
She ran her hand along the log table's top, leaving a swirl in the dust, circumventing the photograph. "There should have been flowers," she said.
The room had no window. Small squares of spring flowers done in needlepoint and framed in gold adorned the walls. They blossomed in terra cotta pots and glistened in baskets. You could almost think you were in a garden.
"Look at this painting, Jennet," Miss Eidt said.
I'd just noticed it, the one picture that didn't depict flowers. A young auburn-haired girl in an old-fashioned cream-colored dress sat on a bench in an arbor, a book in her lap, a cascade of dark pink roses tumbling down the white wall behind her.
At her feet lay a snowy-ruffed collie with fur the color of my imagined gold nuggets. The dog's eyes were fixed on a white gate in the background, on some unseen thing behind the gate.
It was one of those sentimental turn-of-the-century paintings like my cherished picture of the bi-color collie and the child with the doll. Flowers, children or a dreamy maiden, a collie-all things beautiful. Those were favorite subjects for the old time artists.
A strong, strange desire to possess the painting gripped me.
"This is my other reason for wanting you to see the room," Miss Eidt said. "It's the collie."