Piper (The Piper Trilogy # 1)


Piper (The Piper Trilogy # 1)


Written by Helen McCabe

The first in a trilogy of chilling modern horror novels involving the investigation of a series of shocking ritual crimes with an apparently supernatural perpetrator …

320pp. B-format paperback novel.
ISBN: 978-1-84583-885-0
Published 31 August 2014

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‘He again sounded his pipe in the streets. But it was not rats and mice that came out this time, but children!’

In bleak, post-Ceausescu Romania, psychiatrist Dr Marcu investigates the high incidence of mental illness amongst the women of Arva village, while police inspector Valentin uncovers a horrific history of ritual child rape and murder there. Meanwhile, in the lakeside town of Sunny Mead, New Hampshire, USA, Diane Durrant hires music teacher Diep Koppelberg as a therapist for her disabled 13-year-old son Pip. But while the rest of the Durrant family are captivated by Koppelberg’s apparent charms, only Pip sees his true ugliness and malice. What unspeakable evil links events in these two very different locations? And can Pip convince his family of the danger they all face – or else deal with it himself …?

320pp. B-format paperback novel.
ISBN: 978-1-84583-885-0
Published 31 August 2014


Helen McCabe is a highly regarded author whose love of writing and powerful imagination, coupled with a determination to succeed, have ensured a long and successful career. Her lifelong fascination with literature, history and research and an interest in the paranormal have enhanced Helen’s immense gift for creative storytelling.

She graduated with Honours from London University, where she read English, and holds an MA degree in 18th Century English Literature from the University of Keele.

Her long career began with her first novel at the age of seven, with poetry published at 13 and read on the BBC. She started her true career as a novelist after becoming well-known for her short stories and serials in popular magazines. In 1995 her first full-length novel – Two for a Lie, about the 19th Century Princess Caraboo – was published, gaining much interest and critical acclaim. Since then, in tandem with work and family, she has written more than 30 novels in various genres, including historical, romance and more recently horror/thriller and crime. She also writes scripts for film, television and the stage.

Alongside her writing, Helen has worked in a variety of jobs, beginning as an assistant librarian and finally as a lecturer and teacher. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association, the Crime Writers’ Association, the Horror Writers of America and the West Country Writers’ Association.

Helen was invited to join Mensa, the high IQ Society, in 1989.

Helen lives in Worcester and has three grown-up children and a grandson.

Her website can be found at www.helenmccabe.com.

Additional information

Weight .434 kg
Dimensions 20.2 × 13.2 × 3 cm

2 reviews for Piper (The Piper Trilogy # 1)

  1. Telos Publishing


    Helen McCabe
    p/b 9781845838850/ e-book 2940150537019
    In post-Ceausescu Romania, psychiatrist Dr Marcu investigates the high incidence of mental illness among the women of Arva village, while police inspector Valentin uncovers a horrific history of ritual child rape and murder. Meanwhile, in Sunny Mead, New Hampshire, Diane Durrant hires Diep Koppelberg as a therapist for her disabled 13-year-old son. While the rest of the family are captivated by Koppelberg’s charms, only Pip sees his true malice. What unspeakable evil links events in these two locations? Atmospheric first book in The Piper Trilogy by a prolific author from Worcester.

  2. Geoff Nelder

    Piper by Helen McCabe
    Reviewed by Geoff Nelder

    The legend of the Pied Piper of Hamelin is resurrected with this intriguing interpretation taking the reader to Romania and the USA as the chilling and everlasting piper eludes attempts to catch him.

    My early childhood was spent in Germany and I recall being lifted on my father’s shoulders in Hamelin among the cheering crowds to catch a glimpse of a piper on stilts dressed in colourful medieval clothes. As far as I remember the children who followed that entertainer returned home. In Helen McCabe’s Piper the tale is deeply chilling as the storyline follows a timeless entity, who may have lured children from their homes for the 1212 Children’s Crusade, and more young ones later to former Eastern Europe. The story picks up the outrageous Piper in 1988 Romania. Mysterious and disastrous rituals by young women with a stranger in an isolated community are investigated and the culprit is thought to have died. However, he seems to have re-appeared in New Hampshire, where he sets to work captivating the women and young children of a family. All that is, except a disabled mute teen, who recognises the dangers.

    Because the novel is split between events in Romania and the US the reader is treated to contrasting yet very believable environments. Maybe the brooding mountain cemetery in Transylvania and the shiny hot Sunny Mead in New Hampshire are clichéd milieu. Even so, the characters grip you and take you deep into their souls so that the awful experience of those victims in Romania travel horrifically, yet more under your skin, to the American sunshine. Suddenly, with the ‘storm crouching over the lake’, the cliché evaporates.

    Many mistakenly take the legend of Hamelin’s Pied Piper as an amusing tale but the dark side with respect to paedophilia, abduction and mass hysteria are in sharp focus in Piper. How Diep Koppelberg, the pied piper, captivates his victims with hallucinations and illusion remains a mystery as is why he chose Sunny Mead. Not that I subscribe to the need to know everything in a book, so such details don’t spoil the narrative for me.

    Helen McCabe has a keen observational eye and an easy-to-read style as typified by such descriptions as: ‘(the toad’s) golden eyes looked lazy like it had been watching too much television.’ I am surprised to find the Point of View so easily head-hopping sometimes twice a page making it more difficult to engage strongly with a character. Having said that it is easy to have empathy with Pip, the mute disabled boy, who has an acerbic attitude problem and is extraordinarily well portrayed.

    By far the best scene for me is chapter nine, at the dinner table, where the family invite the new music teacher aka the pied piper. Little did the family and other guests know that the playful flautist was driving them insane. The madness is temporary but boy it is terrifically crafted. Be careful how you read it or you’ll find sanity slipping…

    For me the book ends at Chapter 15 with a satisfying denouement in New Hampshire, yet leaving an escape hatch open for the future. After that is a kind of two chapter return to Romania, a tidying up process that is an anticlimax, especially considering there is a sequel on its way.

    For any reader who enjoys interpretative explorations of legends, this is a must read.

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