SCANDAL'S CHILD by Edmund Schiddel


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Again Edmund Schiddel sets his story in Bucks County (as in The Devil in Bucks County, p. 888, 1958 Bulletin) and Olympia, the fictional New Hope, for a quasi-sociological novel with every emphasis, while maintaining surface propriety, on sex. Adamsville, a ""special school in a special part of a special county"", brings Quaker forthrightness and Freudian persuasion to bear on its overprivileged, underloved pupils, but all its forces halt in dismay over Wreath Johnson, the lovely, lonely daughter of film actress Linda Chaney. Fresh from her mother's trial for murder of a husband at the time he was seducing Wreath, Wreath in turn seduces the attractive young physical ed teacher to complete her fantasy of possession. Tom Strieby's one act of infidelity leads to Wreath's pregnancy, and his own elation over his ability to procreate, questioned in a marriage turning sour from barrenness and the guilt and despair it brings. Carolyn Strieby is opportunely called away to Cleveland by her mother's illness, and a whirlwind rapprochement turns her up pregnant too -- and willing to forgive, and she takes Tom's child by Wreath --who, again opportunely, dies of placenta previa. Byways take up the lives of faculty members, townsfolk, in particular as they meld in the vicious delinquency of a faculty son, who with his Olympia pal scares a town matron to death and is in turn knifed by the other boy. Linda Chaney's entrances, a visiting author's brandied repartee provide lighter moments for this molasses melodrama, full-bodied in its exposition of a rather simple story.

Pub Date: Jan. 18th, 1962
Publisher: Simon & Schuster