When American journalist Jon Harkness is reassigned to his paper's London office, he quickly becomes embroiled in a bizarre tale involving an ancient family curse. Whilst out for a drive, his car is surrounded by an eerie fog and he finds himself on the wild Cornish coast by a medieval-looking pub named The Drowned Man.
It is here that Harkness overhears the locals talking about an ancient curse that haunts the prominent Manson family, which piques his interest. Upon visiting the family's mansion, Harkness is plunged headlong into the chilling tale of a spell that has worked its power over the Manson clan for centuries.
'My favourite American crime-writer' New York Herald Tribune
Recently discovered by Shannon's literary executors, this tale of an ancient curse, set in Cornwall in the 1950s, has a curiously old-fashioned air. American journalist John Harkness, now based in London, is driving through Cornwall when he hears at a pub that his old friend Richard Manson, author of a popular novel, lives in the nearby manor. Visiting Poltressor House, Harkness meets Manson's wife, Eve, and son Jimmy. He also is exposed to Manson's obsession with a witch's curse--that the oldest son would always die in childhood--which has affected several generations of the family. The boy has already suffered some nearly fatal accidents. While Harkness tries to help Eve Manson defuse the tense family atmosphere he finds himself falling in love with her and developing a hatred for Manson, who routinely accuses his wife of infidelity. Known for her Luis Mendoza police procedurals, Shannon, who died in 1988, wrote better books in her prime.