Glinhaven by Deborah O'Toole is a traditional gothic fiction novel similar in style to classic 1970s paperbacks written by Dorothy Daniels, Marilyn Harris, Victoria Holt, Marilyn Ross (aka Dan Curtis), and Phyllis Whitney.


Piper Hunt leaves Boston to take over her grandfather's unique curio shop in Glinhaven. While adjusting to life in the quaint seaside village, she uncovers dark secrets hidden at the forbidding Glinhaven Monastery which may unlock mysteries from her past.

From Chapter Four

THE KITCHEN AT GLINHAVEN MONASTERY provided three square meals a day for the thirty-two monks in residence. They kept true to their vows of celibacy, obedience, poverty, stability and fidelity to the monastic way of life, and the ethos also spilled over into mealtimes. Everything was undertaken in moderation, including food and wine, the latter of which was only served on special occasions such as Christmas and other religious celebrations. Most meals revolved around the daily prayer schedule, which consisted of Matins at dawn, followed by Lauds. There was also a midday prayer, followed by Mass in late afternoon, Vespers in the evening and lastly, Compline at night.

Brother Albert sometimes assisted with lunch preparation, realizing that feeding more than two dozen monks required a great deal of effort, resulting in approximately ninety-six meals a day, not counting tea and snacks. It was no easy feat. The three primary meal presenters were brothers James MacLaird, Samuel Dunn and Kenneth Webster. There were days even their seasoned skills were not enough.

Breakfast was usually simple, consisting of either toast with mounds of scrambled eggs, or a big pot of hot porridge accompanied by brown sugar, assorted fruits and cream. Lunch might include greens from the garden during the summer months, or simple soups with plenty of fresh-baked breads. Dinner was also simple: casseroles (Shepherd's Pie being a favorite), turkey burgers and homemade French fries, with plenty of vegetables.

All meals were taken in the refectory, which was located on the main floor of the monastery. It was just off the foyer, with an additional entrance leading from the kitchen for ease in the serving of food and returning dirty dishes.

Three long-style picnic tables were placed end to end, giving the impression of one long board. Thin black grillwork outlined two large windows in the room, overlooking the direction of the mansion. A tall, jutting fireplace completed the simple quarter, only lit to blaze during autumn and winter months. The room was spartan, with medieval-style rushes comprised of sweet-smelling pine and herbs on the floor, which were swept daily.

Meals were usually quiet, somber affairs, with Abbot Magee seated at the head of the joined picnic tables. However, on occasion, there was the chanting of psalms and readings about saints to compliment the food they were consuming to nourish their bodies.

Just after Thanksgiving, Brother Albert found himself seated next to Brother Eugene Baird in the refectory, who was the Prior of the monastery. Tall and thin, with black-rimmed glasses and brown eyes, Brother Baird was generally a serious-minded and unsmiling personage. His primary role was to assist Abbot Magee, a job he took very seriously.

After saying a prayer and crossing himself, Brother Baird dipped a slice of warmed and buttered bread into a bowl full of Shepherd's Pie. As he chewed, he addressed Brother Albert without looking at him.

"Why did the police come to the monastery today?"

Brother Albert paused in mid-air, a spoonful of Shepherd's Pie in his hand. After regarding the Prior for a brief second, he replied: "The sheriff was investigating a break-in at The Thistle curio shop."

"What does that have to do with us?"

Brother Albert hesitated. He wasn't sure if the Prior was aware of the attack on Piper Hunt. It was not in his nature to lie, but in this instance he felt the need to keep the truth to himself. What good would it do to elicit undue concern, when the so-called attack was not even proven?

He shrugged as he spoke evenly. "I'm certain the sheriff was just covering his bases, nothing more."

The Prior watched him carefully, but seemed to accept the explanation. He sipped from his glass of water. "Hopefully that will be the end of it, then."

"I'm sure of it."

"Our order maintains itself on peaceful contemplation," Brother Baird reminded him unnecessarily.

"Of that I'm fully aware," Brother Albert responded shortly. "And I'm in complete agreement."

The Prior pushed his bowl away, delicately wiping his mouth with a napkin. "Now, onto more important business. As you know, the election is coming up just after the New Year. Have you arranged everything?"

Brother Albert nodded, relieved they had moved off the topic of the sheriff's visit. Every eight years, a secret ballot was cast at the monastery to elect an abbot. Since his arrival thirty-two years ago, Abbot Magee had always been unanimously re-elected. He did not foresee it changing anytime soon.

"Indeed," Brother Albert replied. "I have put together a Eucharistic adoration for the election process, and have organized a prayer that addresses our discernment, the election process, and the individual we shall choose as abbot. I've also prepared the library for the various stages of the scrutinium, and have arranged for Mass of the Holy Spirit in the chapel. Just before the secret ballot is cast, we will sing the hymn Veni, Creator Spiritus ("Come, Holy Spirit, Creator Blest"). Afterward, for the meal here in the refectory celebrating the election, we will also have a modern flair. I've obtained a Clannad music CD, featuring Rí Na Cruinne, Ancient Forest and Caislean Óir. Hopefully, it all meets with your approval."

The Prior appeared pleased. "Excellent, Brother Albert. Although it is our God-given duty to elect the most qualified of men as our spiritual leader, I'm sure you will agree Abbot Magee has never failed us. His integrity and devotion to God has never wavered."

Brother Albert smiled. "You'll get no argument from me there."

The Prior rose from the table. "Good. Then I'll leave it in your capable hands."

Brother Albert watched the Prior walk away, toward Abbot Magee at the head of the table. Letting out a sigh of relief, the monk returned his attention to the bowl of Shepherd's Pie in front of him. He had managed to allay the Prior's fears about disrupting their peaceful live at the monastery.

He hoped, for all their sakes, that nothing else occurred to threaten the tranquility of the order.


GLINHAVEN ©Deborah O'Toole. All rights reserved.

"Glinhaven" may not be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the author. "Glinhaven" is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is purely coincidental.