The Blackwood family lost four of its members six years earlier. Since then Mary Katherine, a teenager, her older sister Charlotte and the elderly and ill Uncle Julian haven't strayed farther than the country store. Uncle Julian lives completely in the past, reliving a specific day in time. Charlotte spends her time cooking, canning and hiding. And Mary Katherine (Merricat) dreams and devises spells to protect them. The townspeople thinkCharlotte got away with murder and Merricat's trips into town incite their rage and amusement at the Blackwood's fate. When Cousin Charles comes to stay with them, he sets events into motion that send the family even farther into isolation. He is a villain you can really hate.
The writing in this novel is sublime. Jackson creates a world that is both seductive and frightening. I read this as a teenager but I think it takes an adult to appreciate what strong characters Jackson created.
Jackson died at age 48. What a loss. I can only imagine the novels she might have written if she had lived longer.
Todd Mason will collect the links next Friday.
Yvette Banek, THE HAND IN THE GLOVE, Rex Stout
Joe Barone, THE DEAD HOUSE, Harry Bingham
Elgin Bleecker, SO THIS IS MURDER, Erle Stanley Gardner
Les Blatt, THE FLEMISH HOUSE, Georges Simenon
Brian Busby, HICKORY HOUSE,Kenneth Orvis
Bill Crider, HARD-BOILED, ed. Bill Pronzini and Jack Adrian
Martin Edwards, MURDER BY MATCHLIGHT, E.C.R. Lorac
Richard Horton, SUNSMASHER, Edmund Hamilton, STARHAVEN, Robert Silverberg
Jerry House, THE SHIP THAT NEVER WAS, Mickey Spillane
George Kelley, THE BEST OF JOHN BRUNNER
Margot Kinberg, THE EYES OF JADE, Diane Wei Laing
Rob Kitchin, THE AGE OF WONDER, Richard Holmes
K.A. Laity, PORTERHOUSE BLUE, Tom Sharpe
B.V. Lawson, MURDER AT THE VILLA ROSE, A.E.W. Mason
Steve Lewis, ROUGH CUT, Ed Gorman
Todd Mason, THE ARMCHAIR DETECTIVE, THE SCREAM FACTORY and SCIENCE FICTION EYE
J.F. Norris, A COUNTRY KIND OF DEATH, Mary McMullen
Matt Paust, MAGGIE, GIRL OF THE STREETS, Stephen Crane
James Reasoner, KI-GOR AND THE GIANT GORILLA MAN, John Peter Drummon
Richard Robinson, The first two DREAM PARK NOVELS, Larry Niven, Steven Barnes
Gerard Saylor, MOSTLY WHILE PAINTING, Mickey Cohen
Kevin Tipple, THE JANUS STONE, Elly Griffiths
TomCat, THE CARDINAL MOTH, Fred M. White
TracyK, THE DREADFUL LEMON SKY, John D. Macdonald
Westlake Review, THE AX