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The Minotaur

Barbara Vine: The Minotaur (UK 2009)

From the Publisher:
Kerstin Kvist enters crumbling Lydstep Old Hall to live with the Cosways and to act as nurse to John: a grown man fed drugs by his family to control his lunatic episodes. But John's strangeness is grotesquely mirrored in that of his four sisters who roam the dark, mazy Essex country house under the strict gaze of eighty-year-old Mrs Cosway.

Despite being treated as an outsider, Kerstin is nevertheless determined to help John. But she soon discovers that there are others in the family who are equally as determined that John remain isolated, for sinister reasons of their own...

Barbara Vine: The Minotaur. Penguin Books, ISBN: 9780141042602 (May, 2009), 464 p., £8.99.

 

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The Minotaur

Barbara Vine: The Minotaur (USA 2007)

From the Publisher:
From the author Time magazine calls "the best mystery writer in the English-speaking world," comes an elegant and gripping new novel that blurs the line between psychological suspense and Gothic horror.

Kerstin Krist arrives at the vine-covered Lydstep Old Hall in rural Essex to care for John Cosway, a former mathematical genius, who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and kept under heavy sedation. John is the sole heir of the immense Cosway estate. As he takes his daily walks or sits quivering in a labyrinthine library, the rest of the family plots their own ways of coming into the fortune. It is classic Barbara Vine -- an absolutely enthralling tale that keeps turning and twisting until the very last page.

Barbara Vine: The Minotaur. Vintage Books, ISBN: 0307278328 (March, 2007), 352 p., $13.95.

 

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The Minotaur

Barbara Vine: The Minotaur (UK 2006)

From the Publisher:
Kerstin Kvist enters crumbling Lydstep Old Hall to live with the Cosways, and to act as nurse to John: a grown man fed drugs by his family to control his lunatic episodes. But John's strangeness is grotesquely mirrored in that of his four sisters who roam the dark, mazy Essex country house under the strict gaze of eighty-year-old Mrs Cosway. Despite being treated as an outsider, Kerstin is nevertheless determined to help John. But, she soon discovers that there are others in the family who are equally as determined that John remain isolated, for sinister reasons of their own.

Barbara Vine: The Minotaur. Penguin Books, ISBN: 0141020725 (March, 2006), 455 p., £6.99.

 

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The Minotaur

Barbara Vine: The Minotaur (USA 2006)

From the Publisher:
As soon as Kerstin Kvist arrives at remote, ivy-covered Lydstep Old Hall in Essex, she feels like a character in a gothic novel. A young nurse fresh out of school, Kerstin has been hired for a position with the Cosway family, residents of the Hall for generations. She is soon introduced to her "charge," John Cosway, a thirty-nine-year-old man whose strange behavior is vaguely explained by his mother and sisters as part of the madness that runs in the family.

Weeks go by at Lydstep with little to mark the passage of time beyond John’s daily walks and the amusingly provincial happenings that engross the Cosway women, and Kerstin occupies her many free hours at the Hall reading or making entries into her diary. Meanwhile, bitter wrangling among Julia Cosway and her four grown daughters becomes increasingly evident. But this is just the most obvious of the tensions that charge the old remote estate, with its sealed rooms full of mystery. Soon Kerstin will find herself in possession of knowledge she will wish she’d never attained, secrets that will propel the occupants of Lydstep Old Hall headlong into sexual obsession, betrayal, and, finally, murder.

Barbara Vine: The Minotaur. Shaye Areheart Books, ISBN: 0307237605 (March, 2006), 341 p., $25.00.

 

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The Minotaur

Barbara Vine: The Minotaur (UK 2005)

From the Publisher:
Kerstin Kvist didn't quite know what to expect when she took up a job with the Cosway family at their odd, almost grand house, Lydstep Old Hall, deep in the Essex countryside. All that mattered to her then was the fact that it was near London where her boyfriend lived - she'd come over from Sweden to keep their affair going.

The family turned out to be even odder than the house: living at home with the widowed Mrs Cosway were her three unmarried daughters, in thrall to the old lady, but there was also a mysterious fourth daughter - a widow herself and apparently quite rich - who came and went infrequently, with ill-disguised contempt for the others. Even more puzzling, and increasingly upsetting for Kerstin, was the position of Mrs Cosway's son, John, a sad, self-absorbed figure in his thirties who haunted the house. 'There's madness in the family' offered one of the daughters as way of explanation, but Kerstin had trained as a nurse and knew it wasn't right to be administering such powerful drugs to a vulnerable figure like John.

Then, just as she was beginning to get some inkling of what was going on in the house, a stranger with a glamorously Bohemian aura moved into the village, and his presence set the Cosway family on a path to self-destruction.

In Barbara Vine's new book, her twelfth, a sympathetic middle-aged Swedish woman remembers her strange and horrifying stay at an old Essex house almost forty years before, at a time when the sixties revolution hadn't quite reached rural England. Compelling in its depiction of the secrets within an apparently respectable family, The Minotaur is Barbara Vine on top form.

Barbara Vine: The Minotaur. Viking, ISBN: 0670915734 (April, 2005), 310 p., £17.99.

 

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