THE QUICK AND THE DEAD by Judy Gardiner

THE QUICK AND THE DEAD

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This genteel occult time-warp fantasy begins promisingly, then falls off into Twilight Zone clichÉ. Eleanor Millard, a young teacher whose husband recently died of cancer, quits her job and buys Jackdaws Cottage, a 400-year-old restored house built in 1580 by one Jacob Dawes--but when Eleanor goes to the town records office and meets local historian Eric Seward, she can find few answers to questions about the cottage's early history. Then, while sitting in a daze late one afternoon, Eleanor hears her front door creak open and in falls cowering Jacob Dawes himself. Moreover, Jacob says that his wife Mary is with him--so Eleanor invites them both to stay, gives them a tour of their cottage in the 20th century, offers food. . . and then must also play host to the Dawes' eleven children. Proudly she shows them their former home's conveniences and gives them blankets and floor space--but within 48 hours she's driven batty by the slovenly, gross, 16th-century kids. Finally, then, Eleanor evicts the ghosts; they in turn accuse her of witchcraft with her ""appliances""; and they drown her in a pond. Vague satire on old-home restoration, tenuous subplots (about historian Eric's unhappy marriage), halfhearted occultism: a short-story idea turned into a thin, un-thought-out novel.

Pub Date: Feb. 4th, 1981
ISBN: 1842624288
Publisher: St. Martin's