THE MOORSTONE SICKNESS by Bernard Taylor

THE MOORSTONE SICKNESS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Slow-building occult horror--about a perfect little English village and its youthful inhabitants. Novelist Hal Graham and wife Rowan move to a terrific buy they've found in Moorstone following the death of their two-year-old son. Rowan's recovering from a period of unhingement; Hal's coping with recent success, but he's now bogging down badly with his latest thriller. Can this malaise have anything to do with the anvil-top rock that dominates the Moorstone village skyline or the odd lights that sometimes can be seen dancing up there? Also. . . What about the old woman escaped from the local madhouse whom the newly-arrived Hal saw leap to her death? Why is the madhouse itself, Primrose Manor, so large? And what are the gardener (who grows strange herbs and plants) and the crippled maid conspiring about? Well, Rowan's new friend Alison Lucas, a kind of lady-in-waiting for elderly novelist Edith Carroll, has noticed that a terribly odd pattern repeats itself over and over in Moorstone: a young, vital person arrives from the big city, gets taken under the wing of a much older person, then inherits when the old person goes mad and gets shipped off to Primrose Manor; what's more, the young person gives up his own career and assumes that of his benefactor. The plot grows mucilaginous when Alison's husband abruptly returns from abroad but is rebuffed by his once-adoring wife while Rowan inexplicably grows hostile to Hal and finds herself in bed with actor manque David Lockyer. Will Hal and Rowan be forced to exchange their bodies with their old gardener and maid on the huge Moorstone stone during midnight ceremonies? A mildly diverting occult trifle.

Pub Date: Feb. 24th, 1981
Publisher: St. Martin's