THE SCARLET BOY by Arthur Calder-Marshall


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Cyrill-Connolly, Britain's literary toastmaster, gives this story of possession a glowing sendoff calling it. The Turn of the Screw in the manner of Graham Greene (along with Hammet and T.S. Eliot). This is something of a disservice- strong as well as faint praise can damn. Those looking for less may find several points of interest- however- in this quietly handled story of unexplained and unexpected events, as told with perhaps undue deliberation by a middle-aged bachelor, George Grantley, from the time when he is asked to find a house for an old friend, Kit Everness, his unconventional wife- Nieves, their somewhat neglected child, Rosa, and a refugee, Magda Kovacs, with whom Grantley falls in love. Some rather delicate negotiations procure Anglesey House, closely associated with Grantley's childhood and his attachment to the once glamorous, now deceased, Helen Scarlet, whose only son Charles- Grantley's friend- had committed suicide there. During the weeks to follow, the legend that the house is haunted seems to be justified; Rosa is overheard-talking to Charles and another ""long ago boy"" who had taken his life there; finally her disappearance leads to the struggle between the forces on ""The Other Side"" and a strong belief in a faith which can override them and eventually exorcise them....A suspense story of sorts with a substratum of paranormal phenomena, a celling of Christian faith, and a good many things in between a little psychical research, a little philosophy, a little psychology, and frequent unnecessary asides (Grantley's) to his readers. These often diminish the effectiveness of his story.

Publisher: Harper