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Matty Groves (Haunted Ballad) Hardcover – September 15, 2005


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Product Details

  • Series: Haunted Ballad
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; 1st edition (September 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312333897
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312333898
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,888,007 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In Grabien's third tale of ghostly detection (after 2004's The Famous Flower of Serving Men), her most chillingly effective performance to date, folk singer Ringan Laine and his group, Broomfield Hill, have been invited to perform at the prestigious Callowen Arts Festival at Callowen House in Hampshire, England. Accompanied by his longtime lover, actress Penelope Wintercraft-Hawkes, Ringan sets off in high spirits, but quickly strange things begin to happen. Jane Castle, vocalist and flautist for the group, has unsettling nightmares in her bedroom, while Penny and Ringan are deeply disturbed by some ghostly presence in theirs. Penny, Ringan and the others embark on a desperate race to uncover the truth about a vicious and malevolent ghost that haunts Callowen House. As in previous entries, a folk song, "Matty Groves," provides clues. Grabien ratchets up the suspense steadily and implacably, and the resolution is deeply satisfying. Fans of Barbara Michaels's classic ghostly suspense stories will enjoy this immensely.
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From Booklist

Ringan Laine, leader of the British band Broomfield Hill, is thrilled to be invited to perform at the prestigious Callowen House Arts Festival. He has second thoughts when he learns that the house is haunted. He and his lover, Penny Wintercraft-Hawkes, have dealt with ghosts on two previous occasions, and they do not want to meet any more. Miles Leight-Arnold, the festival's patron, is proud of his family ghost, boasting that Winston Churchill met the spirit. When Ringan and his colleagues arrive at the estate, they discover another evil ghost lurking there. This one seeks revenge for a lost lover who happens to resemble Jane Castle, the ensemble's flautist. Ringan, Penny, and the band have their hands full trying to sort out the events that led to the haunting. Grabien (The Famous Flower of Serving Men, 2004) weaves folklore, history, and mystery into an intriguing tale with supernatural overtones. Readers who enjoy a good ghost story will find this one most satisfying. Barbara Bibel
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By leszlaw on September 19, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Deborah Grabien has twice led us down the misty lane of the folk song that marks an actual event in history. Her previous two entries in this series, The Weaver and The Factory Maid and The Famous Flower of Serving Men, dealt with a dwelling and a tithe barn in the first book, and an unexpectedly inherited theater in the second.

In Matty Groves the haunting takes place at Callowen House, one of the stately homes of England.

This is a powerful story, told in Grabien's inimitable style. It will keep the hairs prickling at your nape, and your peripheral gaze sweeping the shadows outside the lighted circle of your reading lamp. Callowen's haunt is malevolent and deeply-entrenched, hidden for long years behind a pale, harmless lady of song and legend.

If you liked the first two Penny and Ringan books, this one will leave you breathless, and perhaps late to work because you stayed up to finish it, and then found yourself staring into the dark.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on September 28, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Musician Ringan Laine returns home to Sommerset, England to find that he and his group Broomfield Hill are invited to perform at the Callowen House Arts Festival. He eagerly accepts the invitation and takes his girlfriend Penny Wintercroft-Howles with him. Residing there is the benign ghost of Lady Susanna who was murdered in August 1629 unlike the two spirits Ringan and Penny exorcised last year who were not as benevolent.

When they arrive, Jane, a member of the band, dreams that she is Lady Susana brutalized by her beloved husband's cousin Andrew. Ringan is possessed by Andrew and almost rapes Penny, hurting her ear and mouth. He is a malevolent incubus and can cause death to the living so he must be stopped before that happens. Penny, who is the power source that wakes him up, feels it is her responsibility to get rid of this evil; with the help of her lover they research records to learn the truth about what happened over three centuries ago so they can send him to hell where he belongs.

Although the antagonist is a ghost, he is just as evil, malevolent and sadistic as the most deranged mortal killer. He plays a major role in the storyline as the protagonists struggle to stop the evil that he perpetrates. The love between Ringan and Penny is so strong that she knows immediately it is not her lover who is hurting her but someone using his body. The investigation to learn the facts about what happened to Lady Susanna is a journey through historical forensic records and it is fascinating to see the pieces come together. Deborah Grabien has written a great mystery wrapped around a terrifying ghost story.

Harriet Klausner
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. A. Sweeney on December 18, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Grabien is a consistently delightful writer, and with "Matty Groves" she not only continues her Haunted Ballad series but improves on it, upping the ante with her scariest ghost yet.

When authors produce a series of novels they tend to fall into patterns in their writing, and the action can get very predictable. Grabien avoids that trap in "Matty Groves"; although main characters Ringan and Penny once again run into a ghost connected to an old folk tune, this time around the threat is more serious and the tactics they used to cope before won't work. Grabien's clever solution to the problem of how to get rid of the ghost is unexpected and yet logical.

As with the two previous books in the series ("The Weaver and the Factory Maid" and "The Famous Flower of Serving Men"), "Matty Groves" combines historical and contemporary fiction into one entertaining story. You don't have to have read the two previous books in the series to understand and enjoy this one, although I'd still recommend reading them in order if you can.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the third book in the Haunted Ballad series. Ringan and his fellow Broomfield Hill performers have been invited to perform at the excusive Callowen Festival. One of Penny's performers has a bitter history with the Hall as his wife was attacked by a malevolent presence there and died not long after. Penny and Ringan find there are 2 ghosts at the Hall and one may be the victim of the other. They work hard to solve the mystery and the associated song which appears not to be the true story of the murder of the Lady of the house. The evil spirit is much stronger and darker than the previous spirits and has targeted no only Penny, but Jane, a member of the Broomfield Hill players who has a striking resemblance to the murdered woman. This was an intriguing and more violent tale than the previous two, and was well done.
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By J. Musil on December 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one in a series of Haunted Ballad books from Deborah Grabien. They are excellently told stories that flesh out ballads from the UK. They tell the story through a group of people, who you become acquainted with from one book to the next. I think there are 5 or 6 books in the series. If you like ghost stories these are really good.
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