Round about the cauldron go; In the poison’d entrails throw.
There are lots of great titles coming out for the fall season. And although I read Gothic books all year round, I do try to find seasonally appropriate things to read.
It’s time for the fifth in the Johannes Cabal series, a funny, imaginative bunch of books. If you haven’t read any of them yet, go catch up. It has a lovely pace, ingenious characters, and envy-making prose. It has an instant sense of place and time.
It is a damned place, is Perkis Moor. Perched high on the spine of the country, there is little up there but sheep and the crows that feed upon the corpses of sheep fallen in gorges, trapped in gullies, tumbled down scree. The shepherds do a good enough job, but they do not enjoy their work and are happy to retire of a night to their huts of millstone grit and turfed rooves, brutal little boxes with small windows in hulking walls that seem as much defensive as simply shelters.
The wind blows across Perkis Moor; it is the only thing that wanders freely, for it is a damned place, and even ramblers show little inclination to labour across the broken, unhappy earth. Ask a local—which is to say, ask anyone who lives by the moor, for no one would claim to live upon it, only to sojourn briefly until they can return to a proper place, fit for decent souls—ask a local why the place feels so baleful, so full of mindless, lolling hatefulness, and they will tell you it is haunted.
St. Martin’s Press
Thomas Dunne Books
147.07 x 212.09 inches
This kicks off a series of light cozy mysteries that feature a smart, gentlewoman. Laetitia Rodd is the widow of an archdeacon and the brother of a London barrister. Set in 1850, her social standing is determined by the men that surround her. Even still, she shares a humble flat with Mrs. Bentley, a Mrs. Pattimore-like character.
Rodd assists her brother in investigating one of his cases because she has the ability to infiltrate social settings without raising any eyebrows.
It was a bright, windy October morning, and Mrs Bentley and I were down in the basement kitchen making a rabbit pudding. The rabbits were a gift from Mrs Bentley’s second son, whose daughter I had helped to place in a very respectable domestic situation with the Mayburys of Finchley, and when the doorknocker sounded I was up to my elbows in flour.
‘Drat.’ Mrs Bentley dropped the potato she was carving (she was infinitely patient about cutting out the black parts). ‘You’re not expecting anyone today, are you, ma’am?’ She got up and went to peer out of the window. ‘It’s Watson – from Mr Tyson’s office!’ Her pale eyes were suddenly as bright and alert as a squirrel’s. ‘Shall I ask him to come straight down?’
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA (September 13, 2016)
Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.6 x 1.1 inches
Slow and unnerving, and very Japanese, this modern ghost story is truly scary. Modernity meets ancient beliefs, literally and figuratively, in this book. Having just moved into the perfect, sleek apartment in a wonderful neighborhood of Tokyo, a family is unsettled by a cemetery right next to the building.
The to-do list for the day was as long as Misao’s arm. For starters, she needed to clean and organize the kitchen; go out and buy enough groceries to keep them going for the next couple of days while they were settling in; and air all the quilts and other bedding, which had no doubt picked up some dust during the move. She could put Teppei to work hooking up the electrical appliances and pushing the furniture into place, but she would still need to give the toilet, washroom, and bathroom a thorough scrubbing, and arrange both bedrooms for comfort and convenience. There were so many stacks of cardboard boxes waiting to be unpacked that just looking at them made her feel slightly ill.
Still, compared with the rather dark, cramped rental apartment they had lived in until yesterday, their new home seemed like a vacation condo at some glamorous seaside resort. The eight-story building had only fourteen units, not counting the husband-and-wife caretakers’ quarters on the ground floor. There were two units per floor, and while the floor plans of those units were mirror images of each other, the placement of the balconies differed a bit from apartment to apartment, so the building’s facade had an interesting irregularity when viewed from outside.
St. Martin’s Press
Thomas Dunne Books
5.50 x 8.25 inches, 336 pages