CHRISTMAS GIFT by Cid Ricketts Sumner


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Another seasonal momento (cf. the Wibberley) is a sentimental small fantasy, concerning a spinster schoolmarm, a staid and stereotyped New Englander, who takes a vacation side-trip to the Hebrides. Aboard, she witnesses a charming shipboard prank when a small girl glides into the ship's almost deserted lounge and surreptitiously pins a piece of seawood to her brother's kill. Later Miss Grey meets the boy only, with his parents, and, as she relates the incident to them with some amusement, learns that their daughter had drowned a year ago. This ghostly manifestation, however, is a source of great comfort to them.... Like Nathan's Portrait of Jennie, which this may call to mind, successful fantasy is created through realistic details lulling readers gradually to a suspension of doubt. But Mrs. Summer tips her hand too soon, and robs her climax of any element of sweet surprise.

Publisher: Longmans, Green