LADYGROVE by John Burke


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The previous two Victorian exploits of psychic Dr. Caspian and his even more psychic photographer wife Bronwen were classified as mysteries--and did indeed have some detective-story contours. But this time the telepathic twosome is just meddling in a case of family curse/spiritual possession: standard erotic occultery, even if a speck more stylish than most. Sweet young Judith is blissfully married to architect David Brobury--till the elder Lord Brobury dies, making Judith Lady Brobury and, more important, forcing her to bear her child at Ladygrove Manor, which has had a first-born son curse on it since Tudor days. Ladygrove doesn't agree with Judith--nightmares, etc.--and she becomes especially nauseous when nearing the female statuary at the center of the manor's hedgework maze. So Judith and her weird mother-in-law persuade the local vicar to do an exorcism, but, 1o and behold (as Dr. Caspian is the first to realize), ""Something was driven out. And something else, even worse, is filling up the vacuum."" This something else is so demon-erotically powerful that it sends dear Bronwen into sensual abandon (causing marital discord), and then boars are stampeding, a dog is decapitated, Lord Brobury's dead body is defiled, and Bronwen is imprisoned in a swineherd's hut. And no wonder, since it turns out that this spirit is a double-whammy: a martyr nun tortured by Henry VIII who was subsequently exposed to a Druid curse. Relatively civilized, mildly creepy.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1978
Publisher: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan