THE CISTERN AND THE FOUNTAIN by Jean Matheson
Kirkus Star

THE CISTERN AND THE FOUNTAIN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Even with such an awkward title, this first novel from England has much to recommend it for the audience which has been so faithful to D. E. Stevenson, bonny bonny Scotland and the clean air for which it is famous. Given Mrs. Maudslie, timid, stilted, and shy because her husband had absconded with his firm's money as well as hers, and her wavering decision to open her home as a guest house, her touchy maid and monosyllabic gardner who turn out to be in favor of the idea -- and you have an influx of people already centralized. For the secretary brings her secret, their first guest, an old doctor, finds his security there threatened by the crepe-hanging nurse-attendant of doomed Miss Hanover, their next arrival, while the strangely matched Plovers add their problems to the rest. There is a church sale, a devout Anglican priest, the finding of Mr. Maudslie's body, excursions which are bad but good for Miss Hanover, and a cards down finale for all the guilty secrets. Frightfully unimportant, but with a tremendous sincerity in its belief in humanity's essential goodness, a joy in pleasant decor and good housekeeping, and a deft touch with the personalities involuntarily juxtaposed -- this should be a boon for fussy audiences all beat up -- and down -- by recent ism, symbolic, war and other Dali-fare.

Publisher: Scribner