""Death at Castle Dunbar"": Mike Hollis, a young woman and novelist has arrived to the ominous looking Castle Dunbar and she is greeted first by the fiery "Devil", dog of the harsh Dougal Dunbar, brother of Sir Alec Dunbar, lord of the castle, who has invited Mike upon her request. Mike's intent
Secrets of Sinister House #5 is an issue of the series Secrets of Sinister House (Volume 1) with a cover date of July, 1972. It was published on April 13, 1972.
Synopsis for "Death at Castle Dunbar"
Mike Hollis, a young woman and novelist has arrived to the ominous looking Castle Dunbar and she is greeted first by the fiery "Devil", dog of the harsh Dougal Dunbar, brother of Sir Alec Dunbar, lord of the castle, who has invited Mike upon her request. Mike's intention is to spend some days at the castle and draw inspiration for her next story; or at least that's what she tells them, as her true intention is to find out whatever happened to Valerie Dunbar, wife of Alec and Mike's sister, who has disappeared without a trace. Inside Castle Dunbar, Mike meets Justine, Dougal's sister and the house-keeper, Haggis. After a few introductions, Mike is taken to her bedroom, but in the middle of the night, Mike hears strange noises coming from downstairs and she goes investigating. Following the noise, Mike enters a medieval chamber, where she spots the spectre of her sister, Valerie.
The next day, Mike investigates the chamber with help of daylight and afterwards, she gets to meet Alec Dunbar, who seemingly loved Valerie until her accidental death by drowning. Despite learning this, Mike still believes that Valerie was murdered and while searching the castle's grounds, she finds Valerie's diary, where she learns that her sister was unhappy with her marriage to Alec and that she was planning to run away with a mysterious lover. Dougal is sent looking for Mike and upon returning to the castle, Alec notices a strange attraction between the two of them. When Mike goes to her bedroom, she finds a cryptic message written in her mirror with a threat. Mike suspects that the message is a bad joke by the housekeeper and when she interrogates the woman she learns that she can't even write. Mike then questions her about Valerie's death, but the old lady tells her that the'll talk at midnight for safety. While waiting for midnight, Mike goes investigating and she finds a locked room in the upper side of the castle, but she recognizes her sister's aroma coming from inside. Mike is found by Dougal, who tells her to get away from that room and afterwards, Mike goes to meet with the old housekeeper, only to find her death in the cellar.
Since Dougal was the only person Mike saw awake near midnight, she assumes he is the murderer and that he also killed her sister. Because of this, a strange attraction is sparked between Mike and Alec. Still needing answers, Mike prowls in the castle at night and finds a secret passage leading to the locked room. Inside, Mike finds her sister's wedding dress, with seaweed and recently used. Mike then decides to investigate the site where Valerie had died and she goes to swim in the beach near the castle. As she dives into the waters, she notices Dougal warning her not to go, but she continues until the current drags her near a cave cove. Mike finds herself helpless and about to drown and Dougal saves her, removing her suspicion about him being the murderer. Upon returning to the castle, Alec approaches Mike and proposes her, but she doesn't give a straight answer as she had mixed feelings about him and Dougal. However, Mike does notice that Justine, Dougal's sister becomes upset after Alec proposed to her, realizing that Justine is in love with Alec. That night, Mike waits in her room for the "spectre" to show up and eventually, "Valerie's ghost" appears in her room, yielding a dagger. However, the ghostly woman stops on her tracks and leaves the room in a hurry. Mike follows her closely through a series of secret passages until the woman in the wedding dress arrives to a chamber near the caves on the beach. Inside the chamber, Mike recognizes the woman as Justine and she comes to the conclusion that she must have murdered Valerie in order to get Alec's love. Unfortunately, Justine leaves the chamber using more secret tunnels and Mike is locked behind. Upon closer examination of the chamber she finds the decaying corpse of Valerie, still holding a dagger through her chest, confirming her suspicions about Justine.
Eventually, Mike makes it out of the chamber from the outside and she makes it back to Dunbar Castle at the break of dawn. In the meantime, she has prepared a master plan to expose Justine as Valerie's killer, but to do so, she must first accept Alec's marriage proposal, which will cause conflict with Dougal, the man she truly loved. After talking to Alec, a celebration is perpared and that night, a party takes place at Dunbar Castle. After dancing for a long while, Mike notices how Justine leaves the party after Alec annouces their engagement, troubled and upset. Eventually, Mike finds a break to talk to Dougal and explain the situation and during their private time, they kiss, unaware that Alec is watching from afar. Later, Mike is confronted by a crazed Alec, who grabs Mike and violently slips the Dunbar ring in her hand, officially making her his wife. However, in doing so, Alec revealed himself as the true killer of Valerie, because the ring was still in Valerie's hand when Mike found it earlier. Alec confess his crime, but the reason was because he knew Valerie would leave him. Mike then understands that Justine's scary act was to warn her of Alec's threat. With one last help from Justine's act, Mike manages to run from Alec, but the madman catches up to her quickly. In a fit of madness, Alec attempts to murder Mike as well atop the castle's watchtower, but he is stopped by Dougal's dog, Devil and the two of them plunge to their deaths on the ground below.
In the aftermath, Dougal becomes the new lord of Castle Dunbar after his brother's demise. Justine is taken away by the family's lawyer, who will seek a place for her to forget her mad love for Alec and recover from the experience. Finally, Mike reveals her real identity as Virginia Holstein, sister of Valerie and finally learns that Dougal was Valerie's secret lover, with whom she had ran away if given the chance. Dougal stops Virgina from leaving and proposes to her, to which she gladly agrees.
Appearing in "Death at Castle Dunbar"
- Virginia Holstein (Single appearance)(also as Mike Hollis)
- Dougal Dunbar (Single appearance)
- Devil (Only appearance; dies)
- Haggis (Only appearance; dies)
- Sir Alec Dunbar (Only appearance; dies)
- Justine (Single appearance)
- Rayburn (Single appearance)
- Carlyle (Single appearance)
- Valerie Dunbar (Appears only as a corpse)
- Castle Dunbar (Single appearance)
- Castle Dunbar (Single appearance)
- This is the first issue of the new series, which is continues from Sinister House of Secret Love under a new name and direction.
- This issue is reprinted in Showcase Presents: Secrets of Sinister House.
- The name of the antagonist is first introduced as "Sir Alex Dunbar", but during the rest of the story, he is addressed as "Alec Dunbar".
- Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love
- Forbidden Tales of Dark Mansion
- Sinister House of Secret Love
- Tales of Ghost Castle