“Don’t look now,” John said to his wife, “but there are a couple of old girls two tables away who are trying to hypnotise me.” (pg 1)
In DuMaurier’s novella, Don’t Look Now, Venice is an eerie place, a bewildering maze, a place of confusing bridges and canals. John and his wife Laura are on vacation in the city trying to recover from the death of their young daughter, when they meet elderly twin sisters, one of whom is blind and claims to be psychic. Most of the story centers on John, who is dismissive of the psychic’s claim to see their daughter with them. But then mysterious events start to occur and I at least was wondering if John was going nuts or really saw what he thought he did – his wife alone in the town with the sisters, a child in need of help. To top it off, there’s a killer loose in Venice.
In all honesty, I started to read this before bed one night and decided to put it off until I could read it during the day. It’s not scary, but creepy. The atmosphere is oppressive and the feeling of danger is palpable, even if you can’t quite put your finger on what’s going to happen. The end is shocking but inevitable at the same time.
It’s a mesmerizing story, full of suspense and the nagging notion that reality is not as stable as we think.
4½ out of 5 stars
First published 1971
Book Source: Library