The Orb of Chatham


For our honeymoon in 1998, Sam and I rented an old house in Cape Cod. It was a great house, built in 1798 but full of very good 20th century furniture. I remember an Eames rocking chair and an enormous 1950s cooker in the kitchen. We had a great time there and I’ve always wanted to go back. One thing I noticed though (and I usually try to suppress these irrational feelings) was that there were certain parts of the house that felt cold and uncomfortable, in particular the basement and the bottom of the top flight of stairs. It didn’t stop us having a fantastic week there.

For our final holiday as a couple before our baby is born I thought I would rent out the same house for another week. So I was disappointed to find that the owner had taken it off the rental market. A bit of research led me to believe that he had moved into the house permanently from his previous base in St Louis. The owner was a children’s illustrator called Bob Staake.

Now it is clear what he was doing there: his new book is called The Orb of Chatham (thanks, Boing Boing). Not surprisingly, given the atmosphere in some parts of the house, it is a departure from his children’s books into a darker, spookier world of mystery. It looks great and I will be asking my contacts in the US to get hold of a copy for me when it comes out.

In the meantime I rented a different house for our holiday next month. Looks very similar if not quite as old. Fewer ghosts hopefully.

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