Mysterious Book Report Mrs. GodMrs. God by Peter Straub

Pegasus Crime, $23.95, 185 pages, ISBN 978-1-60598-304-2

Mrs. God 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.


John Dwaine McKenna