Aristo's Family

Aristo's Family

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Author: Raymond Nickford
Length: 254 page(s)
Language: English
Written: Dec 2013
Verkaufsrang: - XinXii Verkaufsrang
Views: 484

Category: Fiction & Literature » Thriller  |  Work: Roman
Keywords: Set in Paphos, Cyprus, lost family, father and son, poignant, tender, emotional, drama, hypnotism, psychological suspense, private museum, spooky, contemporary Greeks, ancient Greeks, family tree, parent and child, literary fiction,

Set in Paphos, Cyprus. Father and son... or strangers forever ?

A literary and psychological suspense.

Aristo's obsessive need to trace and belong to his family - even though he was told they were all burnt and left unidentifiable during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus - has estranged his English wife, and is gradually distancing his only child while, in turn, Pavlos has an increasing need to feel he belongs to a father who will make time for him.

As the practices at Papas' late-night museum 'staff meetings' unfold themselves to Pavlos, the boy is led deeper into a sinister confrontation with what Papas calls his 'family', but which brings Pavlos, through the ancient face-masks and relics, to the unquiet souls of Greeks believed to have been thousands of years dead.

Both a father's and a son's need to belong, so long mutually exclusive, so long tested, are at the core of this novel.

Aristo's Family reflects the author's fascination, in all his books, with studies of troubled, lonely or dysfunctional characters in family life and other relationships who may nevertheless find that, ultimately, clouds can have a 'silver lining'. If life threatens to overwhelm, then it really is better to try and fail and, if necessary, 'keep' trying and, to a degree, keep failing, rather than not to try at all; so that if the end to a story is not happy - in the sentimental sense - then the book as a whole, just as Nature planned it, should be affirmative of life, uplifting.


" A few pages into this spellbinding novel by the amazing Raymond Nickford and I could not put it down. I was worried for the young Pavlos being held in the basement of his father’s private museum for the dead. A Cyprian archaeologist possessed by an obsession to connect with his “family” supposedly burnt beyond recognition after the Turks invaded Cyprus, Aristo controls his son through nightly hypnotism. Why does the boy not run? I found myself at the edge of my seat willing Pavlos to leave. Get out of there!

Night visitors come to the small chilling museum, which is both claustrophobic and rich in imagery reminiscent of Poe with touches of Hitchcock.

This is a story about love sought and denied, about family both real and imagined, and about the hazy love-hate enemies we carry from the past. Aristo’s Family is a mystery within a mystery layered with unresolved longing and iced-over with love. This is a beautifully written literary work. "

Barbara Silkstone - author of My Fair Lizzy: A Pride and Prejudice Regency Variation

As I live part of the time in Cyprus, I thought this novel would be most interesting and from almost the first page, I found the style and voice of the novel atmospheric - a sure way to keep the reader hooked.

The story centres on a young Pavlos and his father Aristo; a museum curator and a Cyprian archaeologist with a burning obsession to connect with his family who were supposedly killed after the 1974 Turkish and Greek Cypriot war in Cyprus. The boy is controlled through nightly hypnotism and his father forces him to sit in the museum in the dead of night, to experience the visits from various people which he says are members of his past family.

Aristo spends all his time worrying over his obsession and not with his son who is the one who really needs him.

I found Aristo's imaginary 'family' is shifty and disturbing. They lived in isolated huts in the Troodos mountains at night, forever frozen in a bygone age, which the boy Pavlos finds spine-chilling. During the hypnotic trances and whenever his son come out of them Aristo is distant, not just preoccupied, and almost to the point of control by the people he claims to have met up in the mountain dwellings. Pavlos makes the observation that they betray some strange ancient habits.

This story is almost a Greek myth as well as being deeply rooted in modern Cyprus. The book is a mystery set within a mystery, very different from a lot of novels and is a beautifully written literary work. "

Faith Mortimer - author of The Green Room

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About the Author

Raymond Nickford | Author on

Member since: Nov 2017
Publications on XinXii:  6
My social profiles on...
Raymond Nickford has a degree in Psychology and Philosophy from the University College of North Wales and has been a college lecturer in English Literature. Troubled souls; the outsider, the lonely, his inspiration.

Meet-the-Author interview:

Raymond's work has been influenced in part by film producer Alfred Hitchcock, as well as authors Ian McEwan and - especially - Daphne du Maurier, whose mastery of mystery and suspense first sparked his interest in fiction with her "Rebecca".

Raymond believes his teaching of English in colleges and as a private tutor has informed his new suspense A Child from the Wishing Well:

This features an eerie music tutor, her young pupil Rosie and Rosie's paranoid and inept father, Gerard, who yearns to fight his mental illness to reach out to his lonely daughter.

The book was shortlisted for the Harper Collins Gold Star Award, May 2010.


"Growing up in a suburb of Chicago, the first scary movie I remember seeing was the 1965 Bette Davis movie, The Nanny. To this day, that movie has always stuck with me as one of the great psychological thrillers of all time. For me, A Child from the Wishing Well, is reminiscent of that movie" -
Candace Bowen Early - author of A Knight of Silence

"The story is both enjoyable and oddly chilling, all the more so for its apparent warmth. The pleasantness of Ruth and her liveliness should seem gentle, grandmotherly and appealing, a sweet old lady one could adore, what seems kindly suddenly turns sinister, her upbeat excitability oddly macabre, her voice... a bird screeching... fingers down a blackboard" -
Raven Clarke - author of The Shadowsword Saga

"The author gives great voice to his characters, describing well their idiosyncrasies. A good story must either go deep or wide, and with Nickford's background in psychology he goes deep within the human condition. For some adults, the ability to relate to a child does not come naturally, and requires enormous if not awkward effort. This is an often overlooked subject worth exploring" -
Stephen Valentine - author of Nobody Rides for Free

"A beautifully constructed scenario emerged. The attic scene vividly describes the significance of the doll in the depth of the well. All the mystery and menace of the story coalesces here. I was taken back years to the 1960s when I read a story by Saki entitled The Lumber Room. Mystery and menace are purely distilled in a distinctive writing style" -
Tony Brady - author of Scenes from an Examined Life

"Full of dark shadings and menace. I like the tenderness of the father's feelings" -
A. R. Taylor - author of Sex, Rain, and Cold Fusion

Aristo's Family : Set on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, an eerie and poignant story about a boy's need to belong while his archaeologist father is too preoccupied with his obsession to search for a family who, Aristo was told, had all been burnt beyond recognition in the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974. Father and son... or strangers forever ?

Twists in the Tale : Eerie stories of the troubled, the lonely, but places where clouds can, ultimately, have a silver lining.

For other titles of family life in literary and psychological suspense please see Raymond Nickford's books on Amazon and other retailers.

Raymond says he is moved by the music and life of the composer Edward Elgar, his interest leading him each year to a cottage in the Malvern Hills and to the Three Choirs Festival.



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