Mayflower, London, 1967
The blurb on the back:
The unco' guid!
This is another of the Peter Saxon novels written by Wilfred Glassford McNeilly, and it's the best that I've read. Pre-dating even the Hammer classic Witchfinder General, it's a neat little story of witchcraft in Scotland in (I think) the 18th century. We start with the brutally, indeed salaciously, described execution of an innocent woman in a small ultra-Presbyterian Lowland village. Then - with the minimum of fuss - we jump forward to the revenge exerted on those who were responsible for her torment by her son, who has in the meantime become a major player in the world of the occult arts, his apprenticeship having taken him as far as Tibet before his return to Scotland.
The revenge is principally a series of sketches depicting characters brought low by a fatal flaw in their character, rather than a major Carrie-type conflict. Imagine, if you will, something between Death Wish and The Wicker Man as written by Robert Louis Stevenson, and you'll be expecting too much, but at least you'll be in the right direction.
A fine piece of work - someone really should have made a movie.
PS You may wish to note that a village named Kimskerchan in the text is referred to as Kinskerchan on the back of the book - did these publishers never employ proof-readers?
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: 4/5
HIPNESS QUOTIENT: 3/5