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BLAKE UNDER THE HOUSE

According to a recent issue of The Book-of-the-Month Club News, Blake is the pivot on which the plot turns in Crawlspace, a novel by Herbert Lieberman:

Albert and Alice Graves, a retired, childless couple, live in a quaint 18th-century farmhouse in New England. One fall day they are visited by a personable young man from the fuel oil company, whom they ask to stay for dinner and who, before leaving, is allowed to borrow a rare edition of William Blake. A few weeks later, the young man, Atlee, returns without the Blake, but is allowed to borrow more books. Not long after that, Mr. Graves discovers that someone is living in a crude nest in the crawlspace under the house. He also finds some well-gnawed animal bones and the missing Blake. A call to the oil company reveals that Atlee has not worked there for months. . . . It all ends with the Gravesses living in terror of both Atlee and a marauding band of neighborhood toughs. There is murder, vandalism and finally a blood thirsty manhunt. Here, then, is a chilling story—a thoughtfully chilling story—in the tradition of Night Must Fall or even The Collector. Not at all recommended for retired couples who live on remote farms. [David W. McCullough]

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