Warning: Contains Spoilers!
The person who had answered was not Gerald Benning. It was an elderly-looking woman with austerely coiffed steel-grey hair and horn-rimmed spectacles attached to a fine chain that looped around her neck.
Aufwader’s Thoughts: And so Austerly’s past is revealed to us in even more sordid detail than on his Wikipedia page. What stood out to me the most among the baby farms, the psychological torture, and the suicide, was this: did ol’ Austers seek out Satanism and the occult as a subconscious rebellion against his Bible-bashing governess, or are the rumours about his parentage a cover-up for something a lot more sinister? Was he just a very unpleasant kid who turned to curses and esoterica in later life as an outlet for his horrible ways, or was the Dawn Prince, so to speak, with him all along?
Matt’s Thoughts: In so many ways, it could go wrong having a major piece of exposition delivered by Gerald’s female alter-ego. (I think Mr Jarvis, in his detailed description of Evelyn has ruled out any use of the word ‘drag’.) But it makes perfect sense that Gerald would actually turn to Evelyn – possibly his stronger side? – to tell the tale of Austerly Fellows.
And what a dark tale it is, venturing deep into occult back-story territory. The best moments are those ones where Robin decides to just go to certain places and trust that the readers will love it – like the photograph of the dead nanny!