Wednesday, the 17th of March (Happy St Paddy’s Day to those who celebrate), and time for Shelf Control once again! Shelf Control is a weekly feature hosted by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies, and celebrates the books waiting to be read on your TBR piles/mountains. To participate, simply pick a book from your TBR pile, and write a post about it–what its about, why you want to read it, when you got it, and such. If you participate, don’t forget to link back to Lisa’s page, and do also leave your links in the comments below as I’d love to check out your picks as well!

Today my pick is a mystery/thriller first published in 1979 (more recent than ones I usually pick up), The Menace Within by Ursula Curtiss. Ursula Reilly Curtiss was an American author of mysteries. Her mother Helen Reilly and sister Mary McMullen were both mystery writers as well. Ursula Curtiss wrote several novels published between 1948 and 1983 and also some short fiction. In 1948, she won the Red Badge mystery prize for ‘best new mystery’. Two of her stories were adapted for the big screen, and she also worked on some television episodes.

The Menace Within is the story of Amanda who is asked to take care of her aunt’s house and dog while her aunt is in hospital recovering from a bad stroke. What Amanda doesn’t know about her aunt’s house is that it has an underground shelter put to secret and illicit use by a workman. A murderer who has recently killed a young woman, a man who is far from sane has been hidden in this room. But more dangerous perhaps is his half brother who is very sane. For them, Amanda is a threat they must eliminate but things are complicated by Amanda having taken on the responsibility of looking after some friends’ baby. Amanda and the baby are hounded by these ruthless men. Can they escape?

The description makes this one sound more thriller than mystery but an interesting (and possibly fast-paced) one all the same. I usually tend to pick up more mysteries than thrillers and more books set in the 1920s-1940s or earlier, so in both senses this is very different from my usual reads. But I also like to try something ‘new’ from time to time. One never knows when one will come across a new favourite. So I think I will eventually pick this one up.

Have you read this one before or any others by Ursual Curtiss? Which ones and how did you find them? Do you like trying new genres? Have any surprised you in a good way? Looking forward to your thoughts!

Book description and cover image from Goodreads (here); author info from Wikipedia (here)

Find Lisa’s pick this week, All American Boys by Jason reynolds and Brendan Keily here.


2 thoughts on “Shelf Control #131: The Menace Within by Ursula Curtiss

  1. In the UK at the moment there is a lot of justified anger about violence towards women (brought to a head by one particular case), but I’m always leery about fictionalised versions of actual or implied abuse by male predators so myself I would avoid this. One hopes there’s a positive resolution or else it feels like more abuse, albeit by a female author who doubtless would’ve wanted to draw attention to such abuse.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve been watching the protests on the news. I can understand your discomfort. I’ve never really read this author before but lets see I will give it a shot (at some point) but if it gets too uncomfortable, I might just decide to give up.

      Liked by 1 person

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