THE BEDEVILED by Thomas Cullinan


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After Jack Caine's heart attack and early retirement, he takes his family from their Scarsdale home to the Caine manse off in the quiet Ohio countryside. Well, it's really just a farm house, but the kitchen is so big that Maggie Caine fails to notice the ghost of her husband's great-great-grandfather sitting by the stove and giving her gleams of lechery. Grandfather was a Civil War hero, not to mention being the illegitimate father of half the townfolk. What's more, his grave has recently been dug up, his bones are missing, and so is his burial uniform. Even worse, his mistress' bones are departed too. Could the spiritualists who live next door have had a hand in this? When Jack breaks his hip, the neighbors' daughter comes in to nurse him, but she disappears after awhile--only to turn up strangled. Then the Caines' teenage son Duff suddenly makes horrid sexual advances toward his ten-year-old sister, goes berserk behind the driver's wheel, punches cops, is found pissing on a miraculous statue of the Virgin at a local Catholic church, rapes dad's nurse, and turns into the spitting image of grandfather while Maggie turns into his mistress and can't keep grandfather-Duff out of her bed. Believe it or not, the first half of this wildly improbable novel reveals itself with a very attractive modesty--mixed with beautiful jolts--and there's a refreshing restraint right through to the low-key climax. Which probably means it's too subtle for The Exorcist crowd--and not devilishly hip enough for the hardcore Satanists.

Pub Date: June 8th, 1978
Publisher: Putnam