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Property of a Lady

(Nell West/Michael Flint #1)

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  878 ratings  ·  104 reviews
A house with a sinister past – and a grisly power - When Michael Flint is asked by American friends to look over an old Shropshire house they have unexpectedly inherited, he is reluctant to leave the quiet of his Oxford study. But when he sees Charect House, its uncanny echoes from the past fascinate him – even though it has such a sinister reputation that no one has lived ...more
Hardcover, 252 pages
Published July 1st 2011 by Severn House Publishers
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3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  878 ratings  ·  104 reviews

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This is the third book by Sarah Rayne that I have read, and I am not quite sure why. Her plot line relies heavily on the modern-day characters stumbling across old letters and diaries stashed away in antique clocks, book bindings, sealed-off rooms, etcetera, which is interesting but far-fetched ("I shan't destroy these incriminating papers, I shall hide them where they may never be found"--um, OK...), the romance angle feels forced, and there's a cutesy little girl for that extra added spark of ...more
Oct 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first in a series of books featuring Oxford don, Michael Flint, and Nell West, an antiques dealer.

Michael is contacted by some friends in America, who have inherited a house in Shropshire. They ask Michael to go and look at it, but when he arrives at the house, he is unnerved by strange noises and then by spotting a figure, who he believes is an intruder. Despite his misgivings, Michael reports on the condition of the house and later makes touch with Nell West, who has been asked to

Thought the writing was sophmoric and simplistic and there were far too many coincidences and "conveniently discovered" clues to drive the plot along at the right time. Shallow horror/ghost story/mystery at best. However, I will give kudos to the twist at the end - that was clever. Otherwise, I prefer the "house of horror" spin as written by James Herbert in Magic Cottage or Barbara Erskine's House of Echoes.
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
A reviewer on Goodreads wondered if there is a cozy horror genre because that's what he/she thought that this book was. And, the funny thing is that was my actual thought about it too before I saw the review. And, no I don't think there is a cozy horror genre, however, cozy paranormal feel more appropriate. This is not horror, if you are frighted about this book, then well, you should not read real horror books. It's an interesting paranormal book that turns into a romantic paranormal novel, whi ...more
First Sentence: Michael, Is there any possible change you could sneak a day or two away from Oxford and take a look at a house for me?

Oxford Professor Michael Flint receives a letter from his American friends asking him to check out an old house in Shropshire that has been empty and derelict for years, but has been found to now belong to his friend’s wife. Charect House is in decidedly poor condition, but it’s more than that which causes Michael to be uncomfortable during his visit. Who is watch
Mireille Prusak
Aug 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I really liked the main characters, Michael Flint and Nell West, but this seemed a little jumpy. The way it was told - including journal/diary entries and letters, meant to summon and evoke the past, made it feel disjointed. The supernatural, ghostly aspect of the story was much more present (and frightening) near the beginning than at the denouement. I have read a lot of Phil Rickman's paranomal mysteries and they are so good that they leave me a little bit biased. Taking into account that this ...more
Mar 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
I've thoroughly enjoyed many of Sarah Rayne's previous books, psychological thrillers with a touch of the supernatural and a smidgen of gothic which always hits the spot with me! Property of A Lady appears to be the first in new series of "ghost books" featuring Nell West and Michael Flint. The second in the series, The Sin Eater, is due for release in 2012.

Michael Flint, an Oxford Don, is asked to keep an eye on renovations of an old Shropshire house inherited by his American friends. He soon r
Dec 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
I love Sarah Rayne's use of traditional British ghost traditions. And I like the two "ghost hunter" characters she introduces here. A promising series beginning!
Dean Cummings
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I wasn’t even done the first chapter and I knew for sure I was going to really enjoy “Property of a Lady.”

Michael Flint, a professor at Oxford is asked by his friends, Jack and Liz (from Maryland) if he would mind driving out to a small English village of Marston Lacey to take a look at an abandoned mansion named Charect House, that Liz just inherited. Flint arrives in the village, obtains the keys from the lawyer’s office and visits the home. Before even viewing the property, he’s already heard
Jul 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"Property Of A Lady" and Sarah Rayne are meaningful discoveries for me. My first literary choice is serious ghost fiction with adult adventurers. There was none. 'Cozy' paranormal mysteries are parodies. It took thirty years, nearly all my life, to obtain solid recommendations. I loved this book beyond belief! I read until I had to sleep! I felt the euphoria of a book being as superb as I hoped. I did not want the floating journey to end! The ultimate books comprise a moving spirit encounter, fi ...more
Tracey Allen at Carpe Librum
Property of a Lady is the first in a series of ghost stories written by one of my favourite authors Sarah Rayne, featuring characters Nell West and Michael Flint.

Michael Flint is an academic living in Oxford and is asked by friends based in the USA to look at an old house they've just inherited. When Michael sees Charect House, he becomes interested in its history and stumbles across a mystery that goes back generations.

Michael enlists the help of local antiques dealer Nell West who is buying ba
Actual rating: 2.5 stars

Is there such a genre as cozy horror? Because this is it.

It has its creepy moments, but it's mostly slow and romantically tinged and not at all scary. I picked this up because one of the later books in this series peaked my interest and I wanted to start at the beginning, but if the rest of the series is as tame and typical as this one, I don't know if I want to put in the time to get through them all. Lovers of old-fashioned classic ghost stories may get into this serie
Feb 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror-chillers
A traditional haunted house gothic style ghost story. Very readable and spooky with quite a few twists and enough scary bits to keep you on the edge of your seat and almost too many coincidences - most of which tie up nicely into the story as it draws to a close.

Great if you like spooky tales and strong characterisation, and can suspend disbelief enough to allow yourself to be scared by things that go bump in the night.
Jul 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
This was a gothic suspense very reminiscent of books I read as a teenager. An old but haunted house is inherited. A couple come together because of the paranormal mystery. A portion of the backstory is discovered through diary entries, which I didn’t mind. What detracted from the book for me was the ending. I didn’t quite get how things were suddenly resolved, especially the storyline involving Harriet, a character from the past. However, I think this was the author’s first book. I will probably ...more
May 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Cozy horror. With a few good bumps in the attic, and some fun with English folk tradition, this one really should be read in midwinter.
Sep 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
A wonderfully spooky story with one of the creepiest ghosts yet.

"At the midnight hour, beneath the gallows tree...
Hand in hand the Murderers stand...
By one, by two, by three...
Open lock to the dead man's knock...
Fly bolt, and bar, and band.
Sleep all who sleep - wake all who wake
But as the dead for the dead man's sake..."

An American couple, Jack and Liz Harper, inherited a derelict home, Charect House, in the English town of Marston Lacy. They contact their friend, Michael Flint, a professor at O
Caroline Wilson
Jan 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
In this first book in the Michael Flint/Nell West series, Michael and Nell are thrown together while investigating Charect House, a property that has been inherited by the wife of Michael's former roommate. He asks Michael to check in on the renovations of the derelict mansion and it becomes clear that something isn't right. He meets Nell West, a local antiques dealer, who has been hired to find the house's original furnishings. A creepy clock and nightmares experienced Nell's young daughter hol ...more
Aug 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Switching the light out and going to bed was rather an uncomfortable experience after a session reading this novel! I couldn't stop imagining that the eyeless spectre was creeping up my stairs. However in spite of this, I loved this novel! I can't resist a haunted house tale and this was a brilliant example. Charect House is a gloomy and desolate old place with a sinister reputation. An American couple inherit it out of the blue and ask their friend, Michael Flint, an Oxford don, to check it out ...more
Emily Crow
Apr 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
A sedate, old-fashioned ghost story...a little too sedate for my tastes, actually. It was a rather slow-paced book and most of the "action" happened off-stage, as reported by distant parties. The biggest flaw, in my opinion, is that although the story is related from multiple voices (three discovered diaries, email correspondence, reports in old newspapers and books), all of these voices sound exactly the same--modern or Victorian, male or female, craftsman or professor, all are written in exact ...more
Jan 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, supernatural
I like a good ghost story, but this one was just all right and certainly not like the master of supernatural story telling, Barbara Michaels. Here I found the characters rather flat and predictable. And since I like things neat and tidy and resovled at the end, I still felt the author left a lot unexplained, and so I wasn't entranced with being left hanging.
Kathy Rogers
Oct 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ghosties, 2011, mystery, 2015
Started out really scary. More conventional as it went along, but a fun read. I'll look for more in the series. Interesting way of pulling the story along. Stretched credibility sometimes, but it was still fun.
Aug 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
Traditional haunted house mystery. Michael Flint is asked by friends i the states to check out a house left to them in Shropshire.
The result is a visit to a run down old house, a spooky experience and a historical mystery.
Jul 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Awesome read! Haunted house books are my favorite :) I got so into this book I jumped a few times....
Apr 06, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror
Every residential area in the Philippines has its own “haunted house”: the focus of some morbid combination of scandal and crime (often murder), blended together by the local rumour mill into a story subsequently used to explain mysterious noises and strange sightings around and within the house. In many cases the house in question is a relatively modern structure: the genuinely old houses of Manila were levelled (along with a great deal of the rest of the city) by American bombs during World Wa ...more
Dec 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
I think it's a well-written book. The plot is a little bit far-fetched, but not boring . I realized that after I'd overcome several first chapters, which were not intriguing enough to continue reading. The first third of the book seems to be written just only for teenagers, who are keen on reading ghost and horror stories , but gradually the plot becomes more and more interesting, and also more and more dynamic. So I've read the whole story with some pleasure. I think it is entertaining and easy ...more
Sugar Snap
3.5, rounded up to Four.
This was truly creepy...and it stayed true to the ghost story.
Creepy houses are my jam. I love a good haunted house. This one was only made better by the fact that it's in a remote English village.
Oh, sure, there's some trite here - like the asylum, and there just had to be a half cocked romance - but it still all manages to work for me. Plus, there are parts of this book where I was seriously creeped out, which made the trite worth it.
I enjoyed the fact that there wasn
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, netldc
I was not all that sure about starting a series again when the books in my TBR pile keeps increasing daily and there I am telling myself not to add more. Well, then I found this horror thriller and I had to had to read this. Haunted houses are a favorite genre of mine and most of these books have this underlying theme of a long lost property being handed out to a distant relative and then obviously the fun begins. Property of a lady is comparatively a milder haunting, not much in the creepy depa ...more
Josette Thomas
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. The history of the people and the House was supremely done. I also think putting the journal entries gave the story the the extra information to make the reader wonder what was coming next. As I read more I discovered what I thought at the beginning of the story was so not the case by the end. I would definitely recommend this book to those who like a good book about a haunted house and a good mystery to solve.
Darlene Williams
Nov 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As the Book States Many Times: A True Ghost Story

I enjoyed this novel. A ghost story/love story/family tale/redemption tale. I liked the characters. I enjoyed the plot twists. I love a good mansion with ghosts and a past. Not all ghost stories deliver but for me, this one did.
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A new mystery gen...: A dark old house in Stropshire, England 2 28 Feb 28, 2014 03:44AM  

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Aka Frances Gordon, Bridget Wood

After a convent education, which included writing plays for the Lower Third to perform, Sarah Rayne embarked on a variety of jobs, but - probably inevitably - returned again and again to writing. Her first novel appeared in 1982, and since then her books have also been published in America, Holland and Germany.

The daughter of an Irish comedy actor, she was for many

Other books in the series

Nell West/Michael Flint (6 books)
  • The Sin Eater
  • The Silence
  • The Whispering: A haunted house mystery
  • Deadlight Hall (Nell West/Michael Flint #5)
  • The Bell Tower: A Haunted House Mystery (Nell West/Michael Flint, #6)