Vintage Gothic Romance: WITCH’S HAMMER by Caroline Farr


Publisher: Signet
Released: March 1967
Source: Purchased

Her first big chance. An assignment any woman would envy: 21-year-old Samantha Crawford is sent to Maine to interview Peter Castellano for ‘Secrets’ magazine. And moreover, the Valentino of the stage has specifically requested that she write his biography.

Accompanied by her rakish photographer, Samantha dashes headlong into disaster in a Kremlin-style fortress high above the Atlantic Ocean. She encounters a devastating, ageless man, born to Russian nobility and raised on this estate, steadfastly dedicated to Old World tradition. And she is drawn into the intrigue of Castellano’s passionate and beautiful daughter — a daughter whose love for her father is a threat to every woman who enter the gates of WITCH’S HAMMER.


The Time and Place:
1966; Coast of Maine; Witch’s Hammer Estate, outside the village of Durness Kyle.

The Set Up:
Samantha Crawford gets her first big break as a writer when she’s assigned to do a serial for Secrets on the love life of actor Peter Castellano. During his time on the stage, Peter had the adulation of millions of women, but all that ended when his wife died under tragic and mysterious circumstances. Since then, he’s been in hiding at Witch’s Hammer, his family’s estate on the coast of Maine.

Peter invites Samantha to stay with him and his daughter at Witch’s Hammer while she conducts interviews. Their home, er, castle, is a replica of the one the family left behind in Imperial Russia, complete with a staff from the old country (and their descendants). Does that one man look like Rasputin? And what’s up with his piercing dark eyes?

Samantha was specifically told not to inquire about Peter’s wife’s death or the 10 years he’s spent in seclusion. But, darn it, she just can’t help herself. Everything about Witch’s Hammer and the people living there seems…off. And then there’s that beautiful yet creepy painting of Peter’s late mother hanging in Samantha’s room… Did her expression just change? *shudders*

The Wrap Up:
Liked it. Quick and easy read. WITCH’S HAMMER had plenty of suspense and a couple of spooky moments. I enjoyed the outcome of the mystery, though there were too many questions left unanswered for me to rate this higher than 3-stars.

Rating: 3 Stars