Follow TV Tropes


Literature / The Yellow House

Go To
The Yellow House is a horror novella written by D.J. Tyrer in 2013.

It tells the tale of Sylvia, a young woman sent to live at the titular home of her relatives: an impossibly large, sprawling mansion in the countryside by a mysterious, mist-shrouded lake. Intimidated by the house's menacing adult caretakers and initially shunned by her aloof twin cousins, Sylvia eventually breaks the injunction against exploring the house's upper levels and finds a mystery she cannot begin to comprehend. The story contains numerous references to Robert W. Chambers' The King in Yellow and is best viewed in the context of that mythos.


This work contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Adaptation Expansion: If the Steven Scott mentioned in this story is identical to Mr. Scott from The Yellow Sign, then his finding of the Yellow Sign was foreshadowed by an entire "yellow period" wherein he was obsessed with the color.
  • Adults Are Useless: Sylvia gets packed off to the countryside because her parents are serving a war effort in various capacities. The Yellow House is the home of teenaged cousins, but their parents are not present. The only other adults seen are the aging caretaker and housekeeper who are actively malevolent.
  • Alien Geometries: In order to contain as many rooms and floors as Sylvia describes, the house would need the height and footprint of a skyscraper, yet it appears as a rather ordinary country manor.
  • Anachronism Stew: Sylvia is sent to live with relatives in the country due to "the war" - presumably World War II. But the setting seems like something out of the 1890's - 1910's and Sylvia mentions the movie The Haunting which did not come out until 1963!
  • Big Damn Heroes: After days of not seeing each other, Camilla comes to Sylvia's rescue against Cassilda.
    • Later, it is Cassilda who rescues Sylvia and Camilla from Chambers.
  • Calvin Ball: Camilla plays a game with a rubber ball that only she seems to know the rules to.
  • Canon Welding: Tyrer reconciles the problem of Hali being a philosopher in Bierce's An Inhabitant of Carcosa and a lake in Chambers' work by creating a legend that the lake was formed from the philosopher's tears.
  • Continuity Nod: Camilla and Cassilda state that they are named after characters from a play and Camilla reads from said play at one point. They also remark that Sylvia shares the same name as a "famous artist's model," which could correspond to Sylvia from The Street of the First Shell. She is also stated as being a relative of the Castaigne family from The Repairer of Reputations.
  • Creepy Doll: The twins have a room chock-full of them. Then there is the life-sized marionette of a woman that dances endlessly through one of the upstairs corridors on some kind of motorized apparatus. This one even manages to creep Camilla out!
  • Creepy Twins: Sylvia invokes this trope by name with her cousins Camilla and Cassilda.
  • Ground Hog Day Loop: It is implied that Sylvia will repeat the events at the Yellow House over and over without end, beginning with her carriage ride up to the house and ending with her death at Chambers' hands in the attic.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Sylvia almost manages to solve one of the biggest mysteries of The King in Yellow's universe: just what and where is Hastur? She locates it on a map, but is too hot and bothered by Camilla's flirting to process the information. It is possible that it wouldn't have mattered anyway, as she mentions the map beginning to warp and distort just as she locates it.
  • Eldritch Location: Not just the Yellow House, but the lake beside it which is heavily implied to be the Lake of Hali itself.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Devices like the mannequin dancer and the music in the ball room are probably set to activate upon entering the area, and seemingly-ghostly occurrences such as the phonograph switching records or the sobbing in the cupboard could be Cassilda or one of the servants out to mess with people. Given the ending, however, if you really believe any of that then there's some waterfront property on the shores of Lake Hali you can buy dirt cheap!
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Camilla, who has completely immature and inappropriate reactions to photographs of torture, death, atrocity, and sexual deviancy up to and including a photograph of her own mother having sex with a horse!
  • Nothing Is Scarier: In the best King in Yellow tradition, the causes of the bizarre happenings and purposes of the strange rooms in the upper floors of the house are not given an explanation.
  • Room Full of Crazy: One of the attic rooms is plastered floor-to-ceiling with newspaper clippings. We don't get to learn their significance, though.
  • School Girl Lesbians: Sylvia spends most of the story fending off or politely tolerating Camilla's advances. Eventually, she succumbs and the two of them have sex. Camilla's behavior up until then is portrayed as extremely lewd, creepy, and borederline rapey. This is subverted, however, when she realizes how freaked out Sylvia is over their sexual encounter and she honestly tries to make amends and keep things platonic rather than lose the friendship.
  • Stalker with a Crush: During her first few explorations Sylvia is aware of Camilla following her at a difference, shadowed by a jealous Cassilda.
  • Stealth Sequel: While The Yellow House is clearly set in the same universe as The King in Yellow, the King and his city of Carcosa are never mentioned by name. Every other name in the story, (Sylvia, Camilla, Cassilda, Hawberk, Hastur, Hali, etc.) will be familiar to King In Yellow fans.
  • Whole Plot Reference: A child who may be supernatural herself is sent to live in a huge, remote, haunted building that may house an Eldritch Abomination where she is menaced by a pair of Creepy Twins. If you haven't figured out what this resembles yet, you will by the time the protagonist discovers a typewriter full of the same phrase typed over and over again, and you DEFINITELY will when the building's caretaker goes completely Ax-Crazy and murders an old man who just arrived on scene seconds earlier before chasing the protagonist through a maze, ending in the reveal that the main character has possibly been through all this many times before.
  • Twincest: Never stated outright, but implied through Camilla's overall behavior and the jealous rage it elicits from Cassilda.
  • Yandere: Cassilda does NOT like anyone else getting close to Camilla.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: