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Chalet diabolique by Virginia Coffman
I hadn't read the cover correctly before starting the novel so didn't realize until half way through that this is in fact the fifth installment of a six book series around Lucifer Cove, a posh spa somewhere in California, set in the present: 1970. There were a lot of references made to people and things that happened in the previous books. That wasn't so bad, though, since it made me wonder even more what the answers could be to the questions raised. Unfortunately, there were none. Gradually you get to understand more of the goings on at the spa and the role of the people you meet, but you never get the bigger picture. So I googled Lucifer Cove and found an excellent review of all six books:
The Groovy Age of Horror
Apparently a lot of questions won't even be answered in the sixth and final book.

Anyway, it was an adequate read. It had a nice pace and I was quite intrigued. I just wasn't satisfied at the end.
I'm not totally sure it can be called a real gothic romance. There isn't even a romance for the heroine. She's just become one of the worlds richest widows and goes to the spa to discover why her husband went there and why he was killed. If it's supposed to be a horror novel, I would say it failed as I wasn't scared ever.

A few details that were wrong bothered me: A wife knocking on a door in her own house when she knows her husband is in that room? People taking more than five minutes to find a ringing telephone that kept ringing all that time? Cars in the parking lot carrying license plates from all over the world? Heroine getting in the swimming pool at the deep end, swimming the length of it and ending near a diving board?

My verdict, a 5 out of 10.
What I have read by Virginia Coffman, which is minimal compared to her output, I have found to be very good. These titles are Moura, The Dark Gondola, and The Beckoning. They are historical gothics in a series (which she seems fond of doing).
Other titles of hers that I have considered reading have not looked very appealing. So I have avoided trying another. Are there any other historical ones that you have read and would recommend, Charybdis?
Sorry, can't help you. This was my first Virginia Coffman ever. She's an author not easily found in The Netherlands; I must have picked it up on one of my vacations to The States.

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