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TUPPENNY by Julia Cunningham

TUPPENNY

By Julia Cunningham

Pub Date: Nov. 9th, 1978
ISBN: 0380555824
Publisher: Dutton

A strange, sweet girl who appears from out of nowhere, Tuppenny takes a job in the home of the local bigshot--the owner of the town factory and, essentially, owner of the town. Tuppenny reminds the Standings of their older daughter Victoria, who has run away from home, and her brief presence among them precipirates an emotional dinner-table scene. At her next job in the town cafe, Tuppenny reminds the proprietors of their daughter Josie, now in a home for the retarded; meanwhile she visits the town's only church and reminds the eerie, devil-worshipping minister and his wife of their Dottle, a presumed suicide found floating in the river. The story is projected more like an expressionistic play than a novel; characters speak out on cue to reveal basic conflicts, strong feelings, and action to date, and the air is charged with hints of past scandal and with Tuppenny's catalytic promise. Indeed, before the stranger vanishes, Victoria has returned home, Josie's parents have fetched her back from the institution, and the evil Reverend Masons have been dramatically exposed as the murderers of their daughter. Curiosity about all the secrets could keep an audience in place, but it's a shabby kind of drama, trite in conception and played for effect.