Helen McCloy’s Through a Glass, Darkly
I hadn’t heard of Helen McCloy before her novel, Cue for Murder, was discussed on one of my favourite blogs, Clothesinbooks.com. It’s set in a theatre and sounded right up my street. I did enjoy it, and but not nearly as much as I enjoyed Through a Glass, Darkly, regarded by many as her masterpiece. No wonder: it is truly scary and I wouldn’t want to read it alone in the house.
A young teacher, Faustina Crayle (great name), is called into her headmistress’s study and asked to leave the school immediately. The headmistress will give no reason, but is adamant. Faustina must go. Psychiatrist Basil Willing (McCloy’s series detective) gets involved through his friend, Gisela, who also works at the school. He discovers that something very strange is going on. Girls and servants at the school are claiming that on more than one occasion Faustina has been seen in two places at once. Is this truly a case of a doppelgänger? Or is it something else? Eventually there is a death and Faustina seems implicated. Basil gets to the bottom of it all in the end, but not before there has been another murder. McCloy creates a terrifically spooky atmosphere and I thought this was a great read. I’ll be searching out her other books.
I’m away a lot in August. I will be blogging, but only intermittently. Regular service will be resumed in September.