THE MORBID KITCHEN by Jennie Melville


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 Once again the town of Windsor, home to Supt. Charmian Daniels, now head of the police supervisory unit called SRADIC, is the site of a gruesome murder (Whoever Has the Heart, 1994, etc.). Ten years ago, the body of little Alana Heston, a pupil at Miss Bailey's Nursery School, had been found in the school's basement- -the head missing. Missing, too, was Margaret Drue, a respected teacher with an unwholesome past. Now Nancy Bailey, owner of the school, has died, leaving the building to her young half-sister Emily, a law student, and to an aunt in Scotland, who wants the long unoccupied property sold. Emily has asked Charmian to accompany her when carpenter Eddy Bell and his helper Alfred take down the wall she and Nancy had erected over the area where the child's body was found. The wall comes down, a cabinet opens, and seated there is a woman's corpse, the missing head between its knees. Hidden in the corpse's decayed clothing is a ten-year-old newspaper clipping about Charmian that seems to signal some sort of a cry for help. Surprisingly, the body is not the expected one, nor is it the last one to surface during a case that deeply involves Charmian; Supt. Horris; Insp. Jim Towers; recently widowed officer George Rewley; onetime school doctor Yeldon; his wife Mary; and even Charmian's white witch neighbors, the Misses Eagle and Peacock. The author's idiosyncratic, somewhat detached narrative style is well-suited to the brutish goings-on here. Together, they provide a mesmerizing horror story for the strong-stomached reader.

Pub Date: Dec. 10th, 1996
ISBN: 0-312-14681-7
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 1996


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