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A CAGE FOR THE NIGHTINGALE

by PHYLLIS PAUL

 With an Introduction by Glen Cavaliero 


“Sundial Press has produced an exceptionally attractive edition of Phyllis Paul’s A Cage for the Nightingale, likened to James’s The Turn of the Screw in its power and artistry.”
The American Scholar http://theamericanscholar.org/in-praise-of-small-presses

phyllis paul, a cage for the nightingale, glen cavaliero, sundial pressPhyllis Paul's seventh novel tells a story of fear, suspicion and sudden death. Its exciting, closely woven plot would make it a "thriller", were it not lifted far above that genre by this writer's unusual and sombre power: its subtle portrayal of char≠acter, and its disturbing suggestions of evil in a person or a place, make it reminiscent of Henry James's eerie masterpiece, The Turn of the Screw.

Rachel Greenwood, the sensible, cheer≠ful girl against whom all else in the book is skilfully contrasted, takes the post of companion to Victoria M, a young woman who lives in the country at Ashbank House—or Cannel Farm, as the place was called years before, when Victoria was accused of murdering the daughter of Dr. Constantine, After the girl had spent some years in a mental institution, the doctor had taken her back to Cannel Farm and pro≠vided a number of people to look after her and amuse her in that secluded place. Rachel, unfavourably impressed by the psychiatrist's glib charm, soon concludes that Victoria is not nearly as unbalanced as she is made out to be.

But who can help Rachel to follow the carefully obscured path back to that distant September day? Not Pat Anderson, whose irresponsibility reflects her silly devotion to the doctor. Not the young chauffeur Maurice, with his eye to the main chance. Nor the doctor's two precocious illegitimate children. Henry Festing and his mother might help; but Henry, for some reason of his own, is afraid of Dr. Constantine.

In an atmosphere charged like the air before a storm, A Cage for the Nightingale mounts to its dark climax.


“An almost medieval sense of good and ill. One enters a different world — compelling, fearful, mysterious. The characters live, the place has frightening reality … a kind of violent beauty.” – Elizabeth Jane Howard

Price: £16.50 | Hardback | ISBN-13: 978-1-908274-11-3 | Page Extent: 272 | Publication Date: 21 September 2012

A short but perceptive review on the Wormwoodiana blog here

An in-depth review on The Nemonicon website beginning here "that may take me days, weeks, months or years to complete…"

In stock and available to order direct from The Sundial Press (see end of this page).

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A CAGE FOR THE NIGHTINGALE by Phyllis Paul

phyllis paul, a cage for the nightingale, glen cavaliero, sundial press

"THE fire was full of restless, tentative flames which had not yet established a hold. They did not light the room, they were too unstable. The rays they threw merely touched and let go, like agitated fingers. The room was large and lofty, there was a gaping hinterland to the fireside, in the black cavities of which a dumb play seemed to be in process with a theme full of alarms, smothered outcry and a scampering. At the far end, a solemn portal of mahogany was vaguely indicated; its panels sometimes gave out a moony beam as if a face or a hand had been thrust in stealthily. Columnar folds fell from the cornice before the three windows. They had a velvet texture which did not respond to the fitful rays; it swallowed them up, resuming darkness with a sullen emphasis.

But the darkness above and on either side of the hearth was the most consistent, for the mantelpiece projected, ornate and heavy, throwing across the ceiling and beyond its wings a deep permanent shadow which merely fluctuated at the edges as the flames danced; and of the two occupants of the easy chairs which stood one in either recess formed by the depth of the chimney-breast, nothing could be seen but that they were there."

(From Chapter One)

phyllis paul, a cage for the nightingale, glen cavaliero, sundial press

 With an Introduction by Glen Cavaliero 

Glen Cavaliero, poet and literary critic, has long been a champion of the little-known 'supernatural' novels of Phyllis Paul (1903-1973) which have some affinity with the work of Charles Williams.

In addition to an overview of her work in his own The Supernatural and English Fiction Dr Cavaliero has written several important articles about the novels of Phyllis Paul, the most recent of which featured in Wormwood 9 as Mysteries of the Thirteenth Hour: The Enigmatic World of Phyllis Paul.



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by PHYLLIS PAUL

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