Her billowing, dazzling shape resembled that of a moth which had fluttered too close to a candle flame. And then she was gone, vanished into the darkness as if the light had consumed her.
Aufwader’s Thoughts: The Mrs Cooper Mystery continues, but for me the highlight of this chapter is Jennet’s encounter with the nun on the cliff, and her subsequent nightmare.
These two sequences seem to be all of a piece; the scene with the figure of the novice has a disquieting, dream-like quality which quickly turns nightmarish when her face is momentarily revealed. I can picture this being highly effective and quite terrifying on screen, with the arc lights casting eerie shadows and Jennet, bewildered and distressed, calling after the stranger as she flees.
When Jennet wakes up in the night it is as if she has not truly woken up at all. The fiend from her troubled dreams looms before her staring eyes as the worlds of sleep and wakefulness blend horribly together. Now too we discover the importance of the talismans which festoon Miss Boston’s house – in Whitby, evil stalks the streets in beastly form, and sometimes a few charmed antiques are all that will keep it at bay.
Matt’s Thoughts: I’m with Aufwader on the brilliance of the wailing nun with the unearthly face. It’s just brilliant. And – what’s better – is is just throws in another layer to a story that already has plenty of them. You could have just had a story about old ladies conducting seances and that’s all you would have needed, but then we’ve got aufwaders and their storylines. And now creepy nuns.
It’s no wonder that they love having Mr Jarvis come and visit out at Whitby, because he takes what is already an atmospheric little town and elevates it to a place of grand mystery and magic. I mean, I don’t know about you, but I’m wishing that I had an elderly aunt in Whitby that I could go stay with. (Now off to explore Whitby on Google Street View!)