Mysterious Book Report No. 73

by John Dwaine McKenna

The election is almost here and everyone is worn out from the non-stop campaigning and rhetoric.  My lifetime has encompassed twelve presidents and almost twice as many campaigns for president, and I can honestly say here and now in writing, for all the world to see, that I cannot remember any of the others which seemed so long, so full of invective or so full of confusing claims.  Yikes!  It’s been a long strange trip and it’s going to be nice to not hear any more, “are we there yets?”  Yes, Children.  We are.  Be sure to vote next Tuesday.

Given the strange atmosphere we’ve been living in; and of course today’s proximity to Halloween; we wanted to find a book to review that was appropriate to the season.  Whoo-girl!  Did we ever.

Mrs. God, (Pegasus Crime, $23.95, 185 pages, ISBN 978-1-60598-304-2) by Peter Straub is a different kind of a ghost story; it’s a murder mystery and a wee bit of a horror novel to boot.  I have to say it’s one of the more bizarre pieces I’ve read in quite some time.

The story is about professor William Standish, who receives a prestigious and coveted fellowship to Esswood House in England, to study and write about a minor poet named Isabel Standish, a distant relative.  Esswood House, owned by the Seneschal family, has one of the worlds greatest libraries as they have long been patrons of writers, hosting such luminaries as T.S. Eliot, D.H. Lawrence and Henry James for fellowships and retreats at various times.  The result is the world’s greatest collection of private papers of many of the world’s literary giants.

When Standish arrives at Esswood however, it soon becomes apparent that something isn’t right.  It’s not just the ghostly and alluring woman who greets him upon arrival, it’s his creepy male dinner companion and his elusive answers to routine questions from the curious professor Standish that arouse the readers suspicions.  It’s the mysterious voices of unseen persons, the disappearing host and the strange doll houses in the basement . . . or maybe it’s the roomful of bones that raise the neck hairs as one reads further in this eerie, scary and just plain weird novel.  If any of you folks out there choose to read it I’d like to hear your comments afterward.  Its strange different . . . and creepy.  It’s vintage Peter Straub.

As you regular readers know, there’s plenty of vintage literature down at the library.  it’s you community resource and free to use.  Check it out.  You’ll be glad you did.  Local libraries are a treasure house of knowledge, entertainment  and information, but you gotta go in order to get the most out of it.

And hey . . . all you internet surfers out there in the electronic haze, skimming the ether

. . . have you checked out my website:

johndwainemckenna or rhyolitepress.com

You’ll find all the latest information about all of our books and authors, all the happenings like book signing events and author appearances, as well as news and information about our pending books.

Signed copies of The Neversink Chronicles are available at Cannie D’s, the Time & the Valleys Museum Store, and Peter’s Market.  Regular copies are available at bookstores everywhere or Amazon and also as an eBook on Kindle and iTunes.  Books make great Christmas and holiday gifts.  Buy some now and help a struggling author !!!

We’ll see you next week with another MBR.  Read to your kids, your grandkids, your honey, or yourself, but make some time and read.

–JDM