cover image Mrs. Demming and the Mythical Beast

Mrs. Demming and the Mythical Beast

Faith Sullivan. MacMillan Publishing Company, $16.3 (341pp) ISBN 978-0-02-615450-5

Larissa is approaching 50, her children are grown and marrying, her preoccupied husband, Bart, is engrossed in writing a book that threatens to take over his life. For her part, Larissa paints, reads, muses, rows across the river near their Minnesota cottage and picnics on the shore, murder mystery in hand. Until, one day, she looks into the woods and sees a pair of eyes staring back at her. They are the eyes of Pan, an ageless Greek satyr who has been living there since a lovesick Victorian lady brought him to America. Larissa and her Beast discover many affinities, including the satisfaction of sexual passion. Meanwhile, however, Larissa's domestic life becomes chaotic: a daughter turns hostile; Larissa's elusive father shows up; a grandchild is born; a love affair with an old friend seems inevitable; a developer threatens the family's bucolic serenity. Escaping to Greece with her satyr, Larissa confronts the beast within and returns to take up life's real dramas. Related in a witty, distinctive style and marked by subtle insights, the novel is a pleasure, although occasionally the plot seems contrived. Sullivan also wrote Watchdog and Repent, Larry Merkel. $50,000 ad/promo; Preferred Choice Book Plan alternate. Foreign rights: Arthur Pine. November 4