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The Vanishment

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  311 ratings  ·  47 reviews
Writer Peter Clare has bright hopes that a summer by the sea in Cornwall will renew his faltering marriage. But when his wife becomes the next victim of "the vanishments" of Petherick House, Peter is plunged into a battle with unspeakable evil. From the author of Whispers in the Dark.
Paperback, 227 pages
Published May 11th 1994 by HarperTorch
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3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  311 ratings  ·  47 reviews

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Sep 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book was an excellent read. Suitably creepy and scary, and very well written.
I enjoyed it immensely, and look forward to reading it again.
It was a short book, but it has made quite an impact on me, I think.
Very, very impressed with this little book.
Sue Bridehead (A Pseudonym)
I have read this fast little book twice and enjoyed it tremendously both times. It's a classic-style gothic ghost story set near Cornwall, and it has everything a person could ever want in such a ghost story -- vengeful spirits, waves breaking on the cliffs, mist engulfing the old creepy house...

The first time around, I read it as a straight first-person narration by a survivor.

The second time, I paid more attention to the unreliable narrator. Lots of question marks are raised by Peter Clare's n
Feb 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a great creepy tale in the truly Gothic tradition, with such evocative locales and an intriguing protagonist. Recommended for a quick, spine-tingling read, especially if you like Susan Hill, Michelle Paver or F. G Cottam.
David Stephens
May 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
In a sense, there is really nothing amazing about Jonathan Aycliffe's The Vanishment. It begins as a fairly conventional ghost tale with a couple planning on staying in an old Victorian house near the sea simultaneously to get away from their ordinary lives and to get some work done. Not long after their arrival, they begin hearing whispers, footsteps, and doors opening and closing on their own. When they are away at the local pub, lowly residents drop hints about the terrible events associated ...more
Kelly B
While I found several similarities to Naomi's Room in The Vanishment, I personally liked the former quite a bit more.

In The Vanishment, author Peter Clare and his long-suffering wife rent a house in the Cornish countryside for a nice seaside holiday. What they find instead of "R & R" is a dismal old house full of a strange dark atmosphere, and a mystery.

While well written, I didn't find this book at all frightening. Towards the end it reminded me of a made-for-TV mild ghost movie. But, I was
Feb 21, 2011 rated it it was ok
Well, have to say this was a disappointment. A paint-by-the-numbers haunted house story that oddly links up family members in different centuries. I didn't like the protagonist at all. Very predictable with mildly spooky parts.
Jun 29, 2013 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Paulo "paper books always" Carvalho
Well well well...

What can be said about this book?
With less than 230 pages I hope something fast paced, and having read other books by the author like "The Matrix" or "the Lost" I hope something reminiscent but unfortunately it wasn't. I don't think the book is/was bad but I think it was not as good.

This novel is more akin to some old gothic novel in terms of pace and story. There isn't much fright evolved (probably the last 20 pages have some supernatural phenomenons).

Basically a couple go to
Jul 19, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Peter is a writer and Sarah is an artist and they decide they want to escape to the country for a couple of months to work on their marriage and their separate projects. Peter and Sarah first arrive at the house late at night. They find it cold and damp, and in need of a good airing. Sarah gets a bad feeling about the place and is reluctant to spend the night there.

A few days later Sarah goes missing. At first, Peter doesn’t worry too much, thinking she has just gone off to spend some time away
Wilde Sky
A troubled couple stay in a remote house in an attempt to get away from everything and save their marriage.

This supernatural / horror story had some outstanding elements but the core plot was muddled (with far too many family co-incidences) and the main character was so flawed / unsympathetic I couldn’t believe anyone would trust/ help him. If the main character had met a gruesome end it would have been more satisfying.
Nov 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ghost-story, horror
I'm going to have a hard time rating this one.  It lacked a completely satisfying conclusion-- but on the other hand, I found it really, really creepy.  Was most of it a hodge-podge of "creepy stuff" we've seen or read before?  Yes, but it was still creepy!  I'd rather an author use tried and true eerie elements than attempt to make something entirely original that simply falls flat.  (Or in other words, there's a reason these things seem familiar.  They work, so no wonder they're kept in consta ...more
KL Caley
May 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing

This book has been on my to-read pile for a long time and I don’t know what kept making me select others over it but boy do I regret that decision now. This book is brilliant. Such an enjoyable proper ghost story. Without all the gory bells and whistles that often fills this genre.

I had previously been advised to read “The Matrix” by Jonathan Aycliffe which was very good (dark, brooding, creepy) but “The Vanishment”, I think, is better.

The Vanishment tells the secret tales of two families. The

Alex Lange
Oct 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Exactly what I've come to expect from Aycliffe (MacEoin). Excellent ghost story that keeps you turning the pages. I will continue to consume these books one after another.

Only negative was that I wished there was more depth to the protagonist. It felt like a lot more was teased about his past and character than ended up being revealed. That subplot felt a bit anticlimactic, but the book is steadied by a solid main plot.
Jul 05, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love stories about haunted houses and this one seemed to be the traditional kind I like. I enjoyed some parts of it, especially the writing, but it didn't give me chills (and I'm easily scared). Besides, some 'reactions' from the protagonist were a bit awkward and overall, the story wasn't very convincing.

It's not bad as a summer reading and it is reasonably short, but I wouldn't reccomend it as a book you must read.
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read, and disliked very much, Naomi’s Room by Jonathan Aycliffe. This was because of the subject matter, not the writer’s skill, so I decided to try some of his other books around Halloween and in fact went on something of a binge.

I enjoyed this one, because of the setting in Cornwall and the creepiness of a possibly haunted, and very creepy, rundown old house. Then there was the unreliability of our narrator Peter Clare. We started off being concerned for him and his wife Sarah and the tragic
Apr 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Emma-Kate McDonald
Aug 27, 2017 rated it liked it
I feel like this story may have read better as a shorter horror piece, like a novella. I wasn't fond of the pacing but I enjoyed the book; the lead up to the ending was spooky. Unfortunately, it felt rather rushed and addled in places.
Jun 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, fiction, horror
Aug 27, 2017 rated it liked it
I enjoyed it but I felt like it was drawn out too much, then rushed at the end. It might have read better as a short story or a novella. Still scared my pants off though.
May 04, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
Chantal Boutin
Jun 22, 2017 rated it liked it
J'ai plus aimé que j'aurais pensé, mais la fin me laisse perplexe un peu...
Oct 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: review
‘The Vanishment’ is about a writer, Peter and his wife Sarah who spend the summer in Petherick House with the purpose of strengthening their failing marriage. However, this house is shrouded in dark mystery and Peter’s life takes a turn for the worse when Sarah disappears overnight.

Petherick House didn’t have a strong presence although it was definitely supposed to be menacing and creepy. There was a decent amount of descriptions regarding its appearance but somehow the author didn’t quite captu
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 10, 2014 rated it liked it
A couple rents an old house on the coast for vacation. Peter plans to finish writing a collection of short stories and Sarah will paint. As soon as they arrive at the house, Sarah feels a dark energy and thinks they should leave. Peter laughs off her nerves--until the night she disappears. They had troubles in their marriage before and he thinks that she is mad but she doesn't return and he finds that she took nothing with her. Soon he starts to hear and see things in the house. As Sarah's disap ...more
Aug 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michael Davies
Feb 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Another reliably creepy haunted house story from Jonathan Aycliffe. It's narrator may not be entirely reliable given what emerges late on in the book, but taken at face value it is scary enough as a tale of things that go bump in the night in deepest Cornwall. On a deeper level there may be more to it than a simple ghost story given what we discover about Peter Clare and what happened to his daughter, but this is never more than hinted at so the reader is left to speculate if he or she so wishes ...more
Maggie White
Jun 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Another brilliant book by Jonathon Aycliffe. Seems unassuming and gentle whilst it sucks you in. Story of a young couple who go to Cornwall to get away from the stresses of city life following the death of their young daughter. sarah disappears one night and the search is on to find her. However is the house they rented all that it seems. Can history influence and indeed encroach physically into the present. Good ghost story albeit a little confusing at times as he tends to jump from present to ...more
Jan 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Great sense of place. The author reaches levels of description that make you feel you are really there, feeling the cold, the lightnings, thunders, the storm, the mist and ultimately, the fear. Due to the short lenght of the book, the author is not able to bring three dimensional characters, but he depicts the story and scenarios as true as life itself. The tangle of names are really baffling sometimes but all things considered this is a recommendable book indeed.
Dec 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
There were a couple of unusual plot elements in this ghost story compared to the very many I have read. It kept me reading to the end and I enjoyed it. There were a couple things that were hard to believe about the ending, but I won't spoil it. I was confused a number of times at who was who-many of the character names are similar. It underlines the plot, but for half the book I thought that Rachel was Sarah's daughter, but she was Susan's.
Carrie Mudge
May 10, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
Felt a bit disjointed. The links between the Victorian sisters, the authors' child and wife, the friends' child and the house owners daughter didn't flow, they felt a bit plonked in rather than evolving naturally. As with the other book I have read by JA, the ending felt rushed and unsatisfactory. Good tension, but overall disappointing.
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Madison Mega-Mara...: The Vanishment 1 2 Jan 16, 2012 04:55PM  
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aka Daniel Easterman

Jonathan Aycliffe (Denis M. MacEoin) was born in Belfast in 1949. He studied English, Persian, Arabic and Islamic studies at the universities of Dublin, Edinburgh and Cambridge, and lectured at the universities of Fez in Morocco and Newcastle upon Tyne. The author of several successful full-length ghost stories, he lives in the north of England with his wife, homeopath and heal
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