The Twelve Apostles (1929) by Eleanor Scott

“Have you never noticed that in country churchyards there are no graves on the north side of the church?”

This is MR-Jamesian galore! Slugs and snails, and holy water stoups. Almost a puzzle to go with a nursery rhyme based on Tudor history, Mary Queen of Eleanor Scott, not a snip nor snail, but sugar and spice, helped by some of the many footnotes in this excellent book. An American man insisting that whatever Elizabethan house he purchased should include a ghost. Little did he know! And there is much to fathom out here, many passages in book and house to thread, and its compass points, images and icons of the eponymous Apostles or Saints, knitted with genuine slimy scenes of horror. Even an ambiguous reference to the then current Colour Question in America, eugenics or freedom? And a Dürer-like sketch that is not coloured at all, I guess… “He could hardly take his eyes from the fascinating, fascinated gaze of the picture.” And arguably even a prophecy of my gestalt real-time reviewing it today! — with all my manic desire to anagrammatise etc.! If not to misquote!

“‘I believe the misquotations are intentional.’ […] ‘But it strikes me, sir, that any text that’s copied in full is wrong and that’s the clue.’ […] They puzzled over this for some time, replacing letters by figures, rearranging the letters to form anagrams, seeking for some principle to guide them to the clue.”

My previous review of this author:


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