MISS BEDE IS STAYING by Anna Gilbert

MISS BEDE IS STAYING

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Another installment of Victorian chills in the Gilbert-gothic vein--with a more convincing villainess than the one in Flowers for Lillian (1981). Florence, teacher in a poor city-school, is blissfully happy to be marrying bank clerk Philip, especially since he has just inherited the rural cottage ""Honeywick"" from his late, forgotten Aunt Adelaide. But though Florence happily settles in, she's nervous about a secret well near the kitchen, intrigued by the traces of Adelaide's life and death. . . and a bit lonely. So she's pleased to meet stout-shoed Miss Bede, so companionable and helpful, who's staying with nearby neighbors. Furthermore, to Florence's surprise, normally unsociable Philip is delighted with Miss Bede's company--and before long Miss Bede is a permanent guest for dinner, then a permanent resident. Soon Miss Bede is recommending the purchase (which they can ill afford) of a horse and gig, ever-so-kindly taking pregnant Florence for a ride, with foggily ""accidental"" results. Then Philip dies of pneumonia, tended lovingly by Miss Bede--but he dies before changing his will. . . in whose favor? And what about that well--or the True Story of Aunt Adelaide's demise? Well, before the happy close (Florence with a satisfying career and a new loving husband), there'll be moments of doubt when solid evidence against Miss Bede seems to evaporate. But blazing through the confusion is a clear view of a decidedly pitiful obsession, one that's strong enough to haunt Honeywick forever--as Miss Bede stays on. A solid, persistent Gaslight-style chiller: one of Gilbert's most entertaining, persuasive efforts.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1983
Publisher: St. Martin's