Kirkus Star


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A splendidly horrid, candle-guttering, window-and-teeth chatterer--complete with a real ghost, a human sacrifice, a headless body, and a bodiless head, the latter items the (understandable) centers of attention for a mixed group of native and English Jamaicans huddled in the storm cellar of a groaning house during a hurricane. Narrator Liz returns from a visit to her European cousins and thinks she is in love with sensitive, scholarly Edmund, but how can she explain--to herself or dreadful brother Tom--the magnetic pull of childhood friend Maurice, manager of the family's Jamaican holdings? The ill-tempered triangle of men (Tom hates Maurice and dislikes Edmund) flywheels along until--the hurricane. In the dubious shelter of the house the principals are joined by a group of natives, elderly mad Aunt Cissie, and stern Obdeah housekeeper Nan. Tom and Maurice disappear, but Maurice returns without a head to start the--er--ball rolling. In the midst of a somewhat formal group questioning of the Head, Edmund, a flyer who had promised to ride in on the storm, arrives upstairs--Edmund now a black-and-white photograph with ice cold gloves. Liz follows her deliverer on a demonic journey, returning to observe the colorful blood-and-feathers demise of Aunt Cissie and, imprisoned by Tom in a turret, to scrawl out this tale--a screamer to be read only on windless, very sunny days.

Pub Date: Oct. 17th, 1977
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston