Another string to Rumer Godden's longbow, a story altogether different from Black Narcissus, built on a compelling, tantalizing theme, that of evil deliberately set in play, a theme handled with a light-fingered touch that is as distinctive as it is fascinating. The central character is Aunt Barbe, restless, malignant, power driven, but with an external beauty and charm which is as potent as it is conscious. Her weakling husband has died, and she goes down to his legacy, an old chateau in Normandy, with her niece. She meets antagonism from the peasants whom she has baited for years, and she sets about insinuating her way into power over them, gaining personal release through defiance and injury, projecting evil through an innocent victim. She sets the wheels in motion when she encourages a gypsy family to settle on her land. A provocative tale, in substance and handling, with a nicely developed sense of atmosphere. It hasn't quite the humor or charm of Black Narcissus, but it shows that Rumer Godden is a gifted and creative writer, of rare originality.