An eerie, elusive sort of book, as different from Miss Pinckney's Three O'Clock Dinner as that was from Uilton Head, and proving that here's one author that cannot be pigeon-holed. With a sure touch she has done a difficult thing- a realistic novel about mysterious dabblings in the dark arts. An apothecary, held to his slender sustenance by demands of a possessive sister, finds escape in his passion for the mysteries his profession opened to him, alchemy and its concomitants. Obsessed by problems of Good and Evil- secretly enthralled by the beliefs which half of Charleston- 20 years after the Civil War- still held in sorcery, spells, spirits and the like, Partridge toyed with the gleam of rebellion against his virtuous sister and the lodger she has saved from death, then found his match in a mystery girl whose explorations exceeded his own. A fire- one shares his suspicious that he had a hand in it- caused the destruction of his home and its occupants and gave him the freedom he craved, only then to find himself in the toils of that blue-eyed hag, and the adventures which culminated in a visit to Hell- and in his revulsion from the pit of evil which opened before him, thinly disguised in tempting garb. With swift denial he turns the flames of Hell on itself, departs in Satan's own vehicle, returns to his new home only to have security ripped from him by the earthquake- reunion with his evil genius- and destruction. A strange parable, beautifully done -- a tale of witches and warlocks.