THE MOONCUSSER'S DAUGHTER by Joan Aiken
Kirkus Star

THE MOONCUSSER'S DAUGHTER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This rich, spoofy, pseudo-sinister farce is what Joan Aiken must have been practicing for with Winterthing. What happens is a sort of Tempest-in-a-lighthouse, the keeper being an insistently repentant former ship-wrecker who also keeps a monster named Caliban (victim of the Miranda wreck) trapped in a bottle in the cave below. (The cave is reached either through a whirlpool or by an elevator you summon with music instead of a button.) Also residing in the lighthouse are the keeper's blind, passive wife and the forgiving ghost of the smuggler brother-in-law he unwittingly lured to his death on the rocks nineteen years before. But Caliban, it seems, possesses a locked Book of Power that is sought by crime king Lord Boss whose henchmen Fever, Gritty and Sunup have located the creature by radio and arrive on the spot just when the daughter, Sympathy, returns home from ballet school. Until the climactic crash when a few more characters are casually turned into ghosts, they all connect and interact with choreographed precision through an increasingly tangled web of desperation and ludicrous deceit -- and all to the tune of such burlesquing songs as "Who is Caliban, who is he," "O Caliban where are you roaming," "Tell me where is patience mustered" and "Full fathoms five thy brother lies, His buttons turned to haddocks' eyes. . . ." This might well be such stuff as grand performances are made on.
Pub Date: Jan. 21st, 1974
ISBN: 0670487953
Page count: 95pp
Publisher: Viking
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1974




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