- Behind Closed Doors – Suzy: #174 (4 January 1986) – #176 (18 January 1986)
When her parents had to go away on business, Becky Smart was sent to stay with her aunt and uncle at Hawthorn Hall. When she arrives, her aunt and uncle’s foster daughter, Sara, tells Becky she can’t see them as they are ill and confined to bed. Becky suspects Sara is lying and tries to investigate. Sara tries to put Becky off, she tells her although Aunt Margaret can’t have visitors, she is well enough to look out the window. Becky watches the window of her Aunt’s window and does see a figure in it, but by staying and watching Becky notices the figure doesn’t move. She is now convinced Sara has been lying to her and set up a model of her aunt to stop her digging further.
She goes to find Sara and catches her in tears, talking to herself, Sara says she wishes she could tell Becky the truth but she would get in so much trouble. Becky locks her in the room so she can investigate unhampered. Becky gets in to her relatives locked bedroom, her suspicions are confirmed that the figure was just a dummy, but she doesn’t find her aunt and uncle and sees their bed has not been slept in. She goes back to confront Sara and get the truth. Sara confesses that Becky’s relatives had to go away on a science expedition and they had got Mrs Peebles to look after her while they were gone, but Mrs Peebles never arrived because she was in a car accident. Sara was afraid to tell anyone in case she was taken back to the children’s home. She had hopes that she would be adopted and was worried the welfare people would object if they found out she was left alone.
Becky is sympathetic after hearing Sara’s story and wants to help. She arranges it so her cousin Jan will stay with them at Becky’s house until her parents return. Although there wasn’t anything sinister happening at Hawthorn Hall, Becky is glad to be leaving it and can’t help but still be unnerved by the place.
This only has a brief summary as I don’t have all three episodes, but enough to cover the main plot and ending. Suzy had a lot of short serials, that were only 3 issues long. Sometimes this worked well, as it didn’t drag on the plot needlessly, other times it could have benefited to have things expanded on. Suzy also had quite a lot of photo stories, it was a glossy magazine so it worked better than photo stories on cheaper paper like in Debbie, but they still had the problem of looking “staged”. There were some more interesting photo stories, that were more experimental mixing art and photos (such as “The Ninth Nightmare”). This story was more of the standard photo story, still it had a nice mystery and some nice angles and made the house look big and impressive. It ends on a bit of an ominous note, I don’t know whether it’s meant to imply that Sara’s not been honest or just that even with the mystery cleared up, there is something creepy about the house. I don’t think such an ending was needed but I suppose it was more intriguing than wrapping everything up neatly!