THE MAZE STONE by Eileen Dunlop


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Spirit-possession in modern-day, blighted Scotland: until some horror-theatrics at the close, another fine, uncommon fit for Dunlop (Fox Farm). ""William Maitland's brown bowler hat was on the stained wooden drainboard beside the dried-up sink, but William Maitland was never seen again."" Now, 70 years later, Fanny Mowbray freezes at the sight of the strange, ""ordinary"" young man on Bieldlaw Hill and faints in the school assembly when the stranger--who has to be stepsister Hester's crush, London actor and new English teacher Nimmo Lessing--returns her stare. Fanny's doctor-dad and stepmother Alison will put it down to nerves, she knows--to her grief for her grandmother and their lost garden paradise. Hester, ""bright and popular,"" has given up trying to be friends. And much as she wants to, something prevents Fanny from showing her father the stone, incised with a maze design, she found that day on Bieldlaw. (Nimmo's pendant has a like design.) But help comes unsought--to fight Nimmo and extricate herself. Weeding, Fanny pulls up betony, herb bennet, and Saint John's-wort: a link with her lost home and reputed to ""turn away evil spirits."" So-armed, she is Nimmo's match, and so occupied, she forgets to feel sad--while Hester, within days, turns sulky and rude. A fight is meanwhile raging about Bieldlaw Hill: shall it be quarried, and provide jobs, or be preserved for the better-off to enjoy? For Nimmo--who rages and threatens--to inhabit? Hester, forbidden to see him, sneaks off. Fanny, who has seen William Maitland's photograph, writes to his heirs asking if he left a maze-memento. She writes the Old Vic asking for Nimmo Lessing playbills. . . .Distinct, shaded characters and tense, faceted scenes--with only Nimmo turning cartoony.

Pub Date: Aug. 26th, 1983
Publisher: Coward-McCann