As with the previous reveiwer, I cannot praise Barbara Vine's latest work enough. As is often the case with Vine's books, this ia a true slow-burner, and the real action does not occur until the latter parts of the book, but the build up and characters are so compelling you are gripped from the outset, feeling, perhaps like Kerstin that you are an outsider given a privileged but disturbing vantage point to observe the family in the Hall. The Cosways are a superb creation, sinister, grotesque, comedic and pitiable by turns, certainly a dysfunctional family to rival the dynamics of the Hilliard/Longley family in A Dark adapted Eye (One of my favourites from her earlier works). The clues and pointers are placed strategically from the start, from the characters reaquainted with Kerstin at the start and those they mention, to the Roman vase, the library and Lydstep Old Hall itself, leading you compulsively onwards to the shattering conclusions. I was slightly concerned at one point that developments toward the end would result in a cheap pastiche of events in Jane Eyre and Rebecca, but Vine creates her own set of circumstances, and by references to both, she deftly avoids this.
I have thoroughly enjoyed and wholeheartedly reccommend The Minotaur