Riddle in Rindge: A Quest for Answers
An intriguing and scary tale of a couple living on a farm in Rindge in 1817
It's an unusual book – not only is each page of text in "The Old Rindge House: An Examination of a New Hampshire Legend" set within an illustrated border, the thrust of the book isn't the legend itself but an examination of it. Plus, it shifts mid-book from fiction to non-fiction.
Despite that – or maybe because of it – the book is intriguing.
It deals with the scary tale of a couple living on a farm in Rindge in 1817, a surprise guest who is a mural painter and what happens to them during a cold, dark New Hampshire winter.
But, as I said, it's not so much about the scary tale as it is the author Eric Stanway's fascination with it. It starts with him discovering an old newspaper clipping – "The Ghostly Mystery of Old
Rindge House" – in a local knick-knack shop. Captivated, he researches the story, the time period and the people who had earlier written about it (this occupies much of the second half of the book). He searches for and finds the location of the now-gone house.
His intent, though, was not to create his own story line. It was, he said, to show that history "isn't just names and dates in dusty old books, but the lives of real people." He also wanted to, as a Dickens' character said, "make your flesh creep."
He accomplishes both.