Celia Fremlin knows the art of subtle terror. We are told on the first page (or technically page nine in this edition) that there is going to be a “catastrophe,” but there is a whole series of events that must play out first, starting with the main character Meg receiving a simple telegram. The message sounds serious, but not yet frightening. In the beginning, it all seems like a serious case of overreaction, especially once we learn that Meg, despite being the youngest sister, is the one who always finds herself having to solve her sisters’ problems. The backdrop of the seaside holiday adds to the incongruity; you’re not supposed to be scared while on vacation in August at the beach where it is warm and sunny, except it’s England, so half the time it’s cold and rainy. All the little clues – some real, some misleading – gradually fall into place. I made the mistake of reading into the wee hours, and I decided to go to bed after finishing chapter 18. This was a mistake because this was where the book gets the most terrifying, and so I was scared to death to turn out the lights and go upstairs. Not wanting to repeat that experience, I made sure to finish the last 50ish pages the next day during the daylight hours. I was very satisfied with the ending, which I guessed, but not until I was a good way in, and other possibilities seemed to be exhausted. Uncle Paul seemed to take longer to get going than [b:The Hours Before Dawn|249870|The Hours Before Dawn (Paperback)|Celia Fremlin|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1173132790s/249870.jpg|242118], but once it did, it was definitely worth it.