crazed_apple (crazed_apple) wrote in bookish,

Hello! I need help remembering the title of a book. It's a young adult novel; short, maybe a hundred pages. Not particularly recent: I might place the copyright somewhere between 1950 and and 1980. I can't remember the author or even the names of any characters, but it was such a bizarre book it kind of stuck in my mind, and I'm going crazy trying to remember what it was called.

I know it's about a boy (an orphan?) who goes to live with this austere man in a fancy house. The man has this latent, menacing quality behind his well-groomed appearance, and he seems to have a type of OCD, as well: all his magazines and books are laid out at 90-degree angles, and whenever the boy disrupts them, the man becomes furious. I think there was specific mention of his matchbooks being laid out at right angles, too. Possibly the house burns down at the end?

I remember at the climax of the book the man becomes enraged and chases the boy through the house, and one of the few illustrations in the book shows the man crashing after the boy, but apparently stumbling over a bunch of ladders for some reason. The boy escapes and meets a kind hunter or outdoorsman of some type, and the two of them just sort of wander off into the woods and presumably live happily ever after.

As I said, it is a very strange book. If you can identify it based on that patchy description, I would be very grateful. Thanks in advance!

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