A LITTLE TREACHERY by Phyllis Paul

A LITTLE TREACHERY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The rather surcharged, insistently atmospheric quality of Twice Lost (1961) perhaps may muffle the elements of exaggeration in this second novel which carries a caseload of ""psychological fatalities"" unlikely to be found outside the walls of an institution. For in this equally enclosed world- a small, seemingly idyllic cottage in rural England, a number of not only disturbed but really deranged characters are exposed to the contagion of its depressing child, dampness and discomfort. Catherine and Clem Hare who are misled into buying the cottage have been infected by a ""long close proximity"" to madness- their mother's- and before long Clem follows her mother and is put away. Catherine, alone and afraid, takes in as a paying guest Emmy Rivers, a cheerful, canny and somewhat common young woman, and also a troubled youngster, the son of the man who had foisted the cottage on her. In time they both become dependent on Emmy, who in her way takes advantage of Catherine, abandons them both, and finally leaves Catherine more vulnerable than ever so that she is an easy victim for Emmy's brother- a homicidal psychopath still at large.... For all its improbability, the reader will not lose interest and Miss Paul's premonitory, tremulous, at times handling is keyed to the story she has to tell.

Pub Date: Aug. 27th, 1962
Publisher: Norton