This Rough Magic Not Bard Quality

Dust jacket for This Rough MagicThis Rough Magic is a romantic mystery set on Corfu where Lucy Warring, an actress of modest talent whose first London gig folded after a short run, is visiting her pregnant sister whose husband has had to stay in Rome to work.

Lucy’s sister and brother-in-law rent one of their island properties to the acclaimed actor Sir Julian Gale and his composer son, Max, who keeps uninvited visitors away from the property. Another of the Forli family properties on Corfu is rented to an Englishman who is working on a book of his photographs.

On her first morning in Corfu, Lucy is horrified to hear shots aimed at a dolphin frolicking in the cove. Max Gale is the only person in sight.

Thus Mary Stewart sets up a familiar plot in which the initially antagonistic couple solve a mystery and find love.

Stewart weaves into the novel elements of an old tale that Corfu was the inspiration for Shakespeare’s magic island in The Tempest, heading chapters with quotations from the play.

Steward also lards characters’ conversation with literary allusions. The characters, however, aren’t substantial enough to bear a literary novel.

This Rough Magic remains a boilerplate novel, more rough than magic.

This Rough Magic
By Mary Stewart
M. S. Mill and William Morrow
1964
254 pages
My grade: C
 

© 2014 Linda Gorton Aragoni

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