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Titre : S. BOTOLPH; OR, THE MISSING KEY. FOUNDED ...
Éditeur : The Church Press Company, London
Date d'édition : 1868
Reliure : Hardcover
Edition : 1st Edition
Octavo, pp. [1-4]  2-212, original dark green cloth, front and spine panels stamped in gold and ruled in blind, rear panel ruled in blind. First edition. "A short mid-Victorian novel, highlighted by both supernatural and detective motifs, combining the ardor of an ecclesiastical reform message with the typical dramas of rural domesticity, romantic and familial. The plot connects these two aspects of the story by means of a curse that prevents any sort of happy marriage between the Roose and Gretton families until restitution has been done to the despoiled vault of the church of St. Botolph along with restoration to the church itself. Looming over the events of the story, set in the 1840s, is the turbulent period of the 16th and 17th centuries when so many properties belonging to the Catholic Church were expropriated or desecrated. Under the chancel of the run-down village church of St. Botolph is a vault containing the remains of two Knights of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, one of the military orders active during the Crusades. At sometime in the middle distance of the past the vault was disturbed by a member of the Gretton family, who, in response to a drunken bet, entered the vault, removed the skull of one of these knights and had it turned into a drinking vessel. "In the present we see the current heir of Gretton, the wastrel Richard, enter the vault and further desecrate and pillage it, removing a jeweled chalice. As he is walking away, in the midst of a sudden thunderstorm, he looks back and sees a vision of what may have been the starting point for the chain of events that have bound the house of Gretton in tragedy: the two Knights of St. John are at the underground altar, one kneeling, beheaded, golden light streaming from his neck, while the other knight stands, his vestments soaked in blood, in front of the altar on which has been placed an axe. Amidst violent thunder and lightning, Richard is pitched forward and is later found weltering in his own blood, with the pedestal of the chalice embedded in his forehead. Other such supernatural incidents are sprinkled throughout the story, especially at the climax, when the missing skull is restored to its tomb, restoration of the church completed, and the nuptials of Etheldreda Gretton and Lord Roose celebrated. A police detective, in disguise, enters the story during its climax to foil a burglary and act as a catalyst for the resolution of the plot strands. "Some of the supernatural incidents are rather tepid, others more torrid, and the genre fan will wish there were more of them and less of the boilerplate romantic melodrama. The writing is about average at best. Still, this qualifies definitely for the supernatural genre -- and also (just barely) for the detective genre. A rare book, unrecorded in genre bibliographies, with no copy in the British Library or any of the other libraries of COPAC." - Robert Eldridge. Not in Bleiler (1948; 1978) or Reginald (1979; 1992). Cloth worn at spine ends and corner tips, general rubbing to cloth at edges, else a very good. Rare. (#147606). N° de réf. du libraire 147606
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