cover image The Quade Inheritance

The Quade Inheritance

Barbara Ker Wilson. St. Martin's Press, $17.95 (316pp) ISBN 978-0-312-02700-1

Obsession with the acquisition and preservation of Selbury Quade, ``that perfect country house,'' is an inherited trait passed down through 300 years in the house-proud Quade family. Established by Dame Margery Quade, a ruthless Elizabethan doyenne, the estate is at its peak when the trait surfaces in her descendant, another ruthless female, Imogen Quade, who becomes enthralled with Selbury as a child. As her obsession matures, it means blighted lives for those she perceives as obstacles to possession of her birthright. These include her younger brother Nicholas, who replaces Imogen as heir and whose kidnapping she engineers; their genteel governess whom she allows to be suspected of the boy's death; and a husband acquired for the sole purpose of producing the next generation. Inexplicable events, tragic and ugly, occur at the beautiful house as Imogen's implacable evil gains ascendancy. People in far away New South Wales and America feel its effect as they are tied to Selbury Quade in this captivating gothic which throbs with the singleminded malevolence of a possessive gentlewoman. Wilson, resident of New South Wales, is the author of Antipodes Jane and The Lovely Summer. (Apr.)