Down a Dark Hall

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Down A Dark Hall (1974) is a novel for young adults by Lois Duncan. It is a supernatural/suspense novel and is the only gothic fiction she has written so far. It tells the story of a girl who was sent to a boarding school by her parents where only four students were admitted including herself.

Plot summary[edit]

After Kit's mother is re-married, Kit is forced to attend Madame Duret's Blackwood Boarding School. Kit originally planned to attend school with her best friend, Tracy, but Tracy was not accepted despite having better grades. The school is far in the country and when Kit first laid eyes on the deserted ancient building, Kit felt something dark emanating from the school. She is further disturbed to find that her room only locks from the outside. Kit has a very uneasy feeling about the school. The faculty consists of Madame Duret, Professor Farley, and Jules, Madame Duret's son who teaches piano.

Blackwood students are taught individually, according to their 'level of learning and ability'. There are only three other students: Lynda, Ruth, and her best friend Sandy, each with a unique talent. Lynda excels at painting – Ruth at math, and Sandy writes poetry, for which none had shown any talent before. Kit's specialty is the piano. Kit learns that Madame Duret is using the students to connect telepathically with famous artists who died young and channel their talents to create masterpieces for her. She also learns that all former students at her other schools she owned either lost their lives, or lost their minds. Kit devises a plan for escape and attempts to contact her friend Tracy for help. Later in the story, the girls beg Jules to help them escape he tries to help by asking his mother for the key to get access out of Blackwood, Ruth then throws her book in the fireplace in the parlor room which contained Madame Duret and Professor Farley's spirits or special abilities which makes Madame Duret give her the son the keys. This starts a big fire. Meanwhile Madame Duret and Professor are in Professor's apartment across everyone is out except Lynda everyone realizes that she is not going to be able to recognize the fact that there is a fire Ruth thinks there is no other way to get her out or all the girls will die but instead kit went inside and banged on Lynda's door with the message hoping that she would jump out the window she didn't hear anything after that so she went down stairs and yelled for mommy and daddy but she hears her dad's spirits still alive telling her ways to get out of Blackwood School so that she would survive her dad. Later the Rosenblums will be waiting for her outside without her father still working her through the story she wouldn't be able to survive.

Film Adaptation[edit]

On her Web site, Twilight author Stephenie Meyer posted this: "My production company, Fickle Fish, has acquired the option to Lois Duncan's novel Down a Dark Hall. Not too much information to share as yet, but even in this early stage, it is still very exciting. I grew up reading and loving Lois Duncan novels, and I can't believe my good luck that I get to be involved with this project. Down a Dark Hall was my favorite of her novels (though it's a very close race with Summer of Fear and Stranger with my Face), and it gave me some serious nightmares when I was younger."[citation needed] While Lois Duncan posted this on her blog: "It can take quite a while for a book to move from the "option" stage, (which is when a production company buys film rights), to actually being produced and shown in theaters. The wait is going to be hard -- (I always want everything done right now) -- but I feel certain it will be worth it."[citation needed]