SOMEONE IN THE HOUSE by Barbara Michaels

SOMEONE IN THE HOUSE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Grayhaven is a stupendous English manor house (dating back to the Saxons) which has now been shipped over, stone by ancient stone, from Warwickshire to Pennsylvania. But was there perhaps a spectral stowaway? So wonders English prof Anne, who arrives for a summer of work with her textbook co-author Kevin--an eagre, boyish chap of shabby charm whose lottery-winning parents just bought the manor. Also on or around the premises: Kevin's jaunty, recently divorced Aunt Bea; Bea's new beau Roger, an ex-Foreign Service antiquarian buff; and Father Stephen, the handsome local Epis opalian priest. But the main character hereabouts seems to be the house itself, which starts producing some lively visual effects. A willowy ectoplasm sifts down the hall after audible erotic activity in Kevin's room. A 200-lb. statue just misses Anne. A mysterious portrait of a medleys blond beauty (badly done in a later time) appears in Kevin's room. And the shapes is crypt-deep in Mithraic symbols, pointing to . . . a sacrifice? All this, it seems, should send everyone galloping off down the road. But instead an odd peace descends, while all the inhabitants undergo subile changes. Hitherto scrubby Kevin, now tanned and fit, sips brandy in the library. Roger, arrogant and pseudo-scholarly becomes docile. Anne, of a 1980s-liberated bent, finds herself doing needlepoint . . . and lusting for Kevin. What's going on? Well, Father Stephen, no exorcist, holds a peaceful prayer service while Something throws scenery around--and Anne finally puts things together during a hurricane when she is surrounded by the loving (too loving? faces of Kevin, Bea, and Roger. Red herrings galore, talkily explored, may irritate those who'd prefer less speak and more spook. But Barbara Michaels/Elizabeth Peters is one of the most reliable producers around--and this, for the most part, is inventive, amusing, and not-for-occultists-only.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1981
Publisher: Dodd, Mead