It starts out innocently enough, when reporters Tony Dumont and Robin Shepherd are sent to interview teenager Mark Elias, a scientific genius, about a scholarship he has won. But it is quickly clear that there is something very strange about the Elias family. Mark and his sister Shirley spend long hours behind closed doors conducting weird and inscrutable experiments involving electricity and a tape recorder. And then there is old Mrs. Elias, the children’s grandmother, who died recently and whom the family seems terrified to discuss. The two journalists believe there may be a more serious news story than the one they were sent to cover, but they have no idea how serious—until people begin to die . . .
Arch Oboler (1907-1987) was a major figure in the Golden Age of Radio whose weekly horror program Lights Out terrified listeners in the 1930s and ’40s. In House on Fire (1969), his only novel, Oboler delivers a page-turning chiller that is effective both as an eerie tale of supernatural horror and as an examination of the nature of evil.