Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Crying Child” as Want to Read:
The Crying Child
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Crying Child

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  1,264 ratings  ·  44 reviews
From the moment she arrived on King's Island, Joanne McMullen knew that her sister's grief over losing her child had driven her dangerously close to madness. But when Joanne heard the same child's voice that her sister had heard wailing in the woods, she knew something terrible was happening!
Paperback, 289 pages
Published April 1st 1989 by Berkley (first published 1971)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,264 ratings  ·  44 reviews

Sort order
Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*
Come on, just the title alone is worth a second glance, right?

As usual Michaels indulges in cozy storytelling with a different twist on her characters. Here the heroine of the story is suffering from desiring forbidden fruit, so to speak, but is highly moral and won't follow Eve's path. Between her urge for independence and witty humor - and thankfully less of a bitchy nature than many other Michaels characters - she's another likable act to follow. The sister Mary is an intriguing one, not a us
Mar 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh, a rare mystery for adults: solving the reason for a haunting! Penned in a modern-feeling 1971, "The Crying Child" is compelling immediately. Jo quickly observes that what seems like her sister, Mary, breaking-down is something else. I loved there being no "no one will believe me" nonsense. There are vigorous, intelligent debates about why the disturbers could be ghosts. I savour Barbara's composition: wholly natural characters thinking as we would - not always so in fiction. Personalities st ...more
Mar 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
When one is reading Ms Barbara Michaels’s work, one cannot deny her ability of perception (as to from which angle she views a scene) and her craft of mingling her thoughts with the gravity of words. The moment when I came across this book, I was hardly aware who Miss Michaels was. Having picked it from a second sale lot, I loved the yellow texture of the pages and the sweet pungent smell radiated by the age of the copy which I found to be 22 years old.

Now it is the kind of a book which might se
Jul 04, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: gothic, paranormal
This is typical Barbara Michaels "cozy gothic" fare.  There's a beautiful old mansion, some mildly spooky occurrences (with a mystery to unravel), and a side-story romance (which in most cases is very sparsely sketched).  If you like her other gothic novels, you'll probably like this, too.  It seems about on par with the several others I've already read.

I found it rather blandly enjoyable, but there were also some of the same irritations I almost always find in this author's works.  The overtly
Jul 26, 2008 rated it liked it
Elizabeth Peters who writes under the name of Barbara Michaels is a master at writing suspenseful gothic novels, which are even better when there's a ghostly source. This novel is not an exception.

Originally published in 1971, the worldviews and conversations are a bit antiquated, though I'm sure at the time they were very hip and modern. A woman who can change a tire? How shocking!

Joanne receives a call from her rich brother-in-law Ran that her sister Mary who has recently suffered her third mi
Some of her books hold up over the years, some don't. The mystery/creepiness in this one is still good, but it is dated by its references musical groups such as the Who and The Beatles (they are "far out"--outdated lingo)and women don't wear jeans and everyone smokes.
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I found this to be a very chilling tale. I couldn't put this book down and I look forward to reading other titles by Mrs. Michaels. This is a page-turning, well paced, mystery complete with researched historical events that fit perfectly. The suspense is amazing as you find there are more than plenty of suspects, but that you never suspected the actual evil doer.
Feb 27, 2018 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Sep 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As someone who spent a great deal of her childhood on an island in Casco Bay I'm quite looking forward to this one :)

What is causing the eerie sound if a child crying? Is Mary having a nervous breakdown? ... Is someone torturing her with this noise? Or is the real explanation more terrifying?
Apr 27, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: american-lit, novels
Another fun Barbara Michaels ghost story, this one set in a creepy house in Maine full of towers that look out on the sea. Somewhere a baby's crying, calling Mary, who recently had a miscarriage, out to care for it. Her husband, Ran (talk about a romance hero name!) calls her sister, Jo, back to help her and the family sets out to solve the mystery along with the oh-so-New England couple who helps out at the house, Ran's best friend Will and a pantsuit-wearing glamorpuss psychiatrist.

As with the
Kathy Jackson
Aug 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Another entertaining mystery/supernatural story from Ms Peters/Michaels. The cover is deceiving - the house isn't that close to the cliffs but whatever. It is a great tale of what lengths a person would do for a child - any child.

Michaels weaves through the mystery with ease that keeps the reader guessing about what is really happening. She always does such a wonderful job with cemeteries - makes me wonder if she spends an exorbitant amount of time hanging out with the dead. I enjoy cemeteries t
C.L. Bevill
Mar 13, 2013 rated it liked it
I found a Barbara Michaels (Elizabeth Peters) I haven't read! This one is a reissue that was first published in 1971. Basically girl comes to help older sister with melancholy problem based on a miscarriage. Locale: a spooky island with lots of atmosphere. Background: the older sister hears a crying child. Problem: The protag hears the crying child too! Then the protag sees a creepy woman in black, too. Horrors abounding!

Love Barbara Michaels aka Elizabeth Peters, but the plot is one she's repea
Rachel Larow
Apr 16, 2012 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This one of Michaels's really managed to creep me out. I think it was mostly due to the spooky imagery of the child crying in the middle of the night and rocking horses rocking all by themselves that had me keeping the light on for most of the night. The mystery aspect of the story wasn't the best of Michaels as I had a part of what was doing the crying figured out early on, the suspense side of the plot though was excellent. As was the bits featuring the paranormal. I only wish that the story d ...more
Mar 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I read this for the first time when I was maybe 10-years-old or so. My mother and grandmother were fans of the author and it was easy for me to fall in love with her writing as well.

Aspects of the story are dated, certainly the musical references that are there to make the heroine seem young and hip, but it's still an enjoyable read.

The writer is more famous for the Elizabeth Peters books, but I'm a Barbara Michaels fan through and through and think any of the books issued under that name are w
Dec 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Maybe I only gave this 5 stars because I read it at night, but it scared the poop out of me. I had tears in my eyes and kept looking around the room and didn't want to get out of bed to pee. It's written almost like your friend telling you a story, so it's easy to relate and start believing it could be true.
Katherine P
May 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013, mystery-read
This is one of my favorite Barbara Michaels and one I've reread over and over. The story starts with Jo arriving on the island to cheer up her sister after a miscarriage and wind up in a full fledged ghost story with a big family secret. The characters are all likable (with the exception of Anne who irritated me) and sympathetic (not excluding Anne).
Jun 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is definitely one of the better Barbara Michaels books I've read. It was close to being 4.5 stars. The mystery was interesting, and the book actually creeped me out, which doesn't happen a lot with horror novels for me. I did feel like the epilogue didn't totally fit with the rest of the story - it was an abrupt transition - but that was my only real complaint.
Jan 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This ghost story is good for a cold or rainy night, and even a thunderstorm. It was really well done and has stood the test of time. This was written in 1970 or 71, and I read the 1989 paperback. I think I also saw a movie with this story line...? Probably on Lifetime.
Feb 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Wow! Just wow! What a terrific gothic! The story plays fair in that there are hints all along. Still, putting those hints together isn't easy. This book gave me chills. The thought of the crying child haunts me.
Apr 23, 2014 rated it did not like it
Probably one of the worst books I have read in the last five years. It reads as if it has been written by an average 10 year old. I would definitely not recommend this book; it is a complete waste of time and I returned it to the library when I was about half way through the book.
Aug 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Just what I needed. A Barbara Michaels with creepy in it that I hadn't read before. She's a comforting "turn to" with gothic suspense, even if her stuff is now probably dated in content.
Had to read one of her books since she passed away not too long ago. Rest in peace, dear author.
Sarah Sammis
Jan 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
A genuine ghost story which made for an entertaining read. Often Michaels opts for a more logical conclusion leaving the supernatural events to be explained by a nefarious slight of hand by one of the characters. In this book the ending is as Gothic as the house in which the story takes place.
Mar 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
This was my second Barbara Michaels book and it is also my favorite by her! I have been trying to find a copy of this book but have been unable to. I highly recommend this book to everyone especially if you enjoy a little supernatural and mystery.
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my second Barbara Michaels book and it is also my favorite by her! I have been trying to find a copy of this book but have been unable to. I highly recommend this book to everyone especially if you enjoy a little supernatural and mystery.

Jul 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating, well-written and hard to put down. A great story!
Vivien Farrell
Jan 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
An entertaining supernatural novel. An easy to read style of writing and fast moving story. But not a book for the best ever book shelf. Nonetheless I enjoyed this very much.
Jul 30, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Scary and thrilling but with confused ending as many questions go unanswered at the end.
Sep 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Re-read it for thirtieth or so time. Just love everything about it.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Love Talker
  • Columbella
  • Darkwater
  • The Judas Kiss
  • My Brother Michael
Barbara Michaels was a pen name of Barbara Mertz. She also wrote as Elizabeth Peters, as well as under her own name.

She was born in Canton, Illinois and has written over fifty books including some in Egyptology. Dr. Mertz also holds a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in Egyptology.