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First Dennis Wheatley book I ever read..........
on 27 November 2013
and this was years and years ago so re-reading it was a pleasure as I had forgotten nearly all of the story.
The story is mainly about a pair of twins who have a strong psychic link. Otto is the 'good' twin and Lothar has gone over to the Russians and the Neo-Nazis. What he is planning to do is unthinkable.
Teddy Morden who was working undercover for CB Colonel Verney has been found ritually crucified upside down. This of course suggests Black Magic. One day, his Widow, Mary comes to see CB with the intention of carrying on where her deceased husband left off. CB tries to dissuade her but she is adamant. All he can tell her to do is to change her appearance drastically and create a new persona for herself.
Years ago back in Ireland with only herself and her Brother to support she has to turn to prostitution to get him out of trouble. It is whilst she is doing this awful job she means Barney or as he is properly known Lord Larne. When they meet at Mrs. Wardeel's (the meeting place for those interested in the psychic world), she recognises Barney immediately and sets out to pay him back for the distress he caused her years ago. Barney of course does not recognise her. All he sees is a dark haired beauty.
At one of the meetings at Mrs. Wardeel's, Mary is introduced to an Indian called Ratnadatta. He wants her to join his Coven of Devil worshippers. Reluctantly she agrees although what she sees there turns her stomach. Barney is also worried that she will be drawn into becoming a Satanist so tries to dissuade her from meeting up with Ratnadatta again.
The ending is nail biting to say the least and although there was a fair bit of waffle and a lot of typos in this book, to me, it still remains one of Wheatley's best.
There is one thing however that Wheatley got wrong. Pan is not allied to evil. He is a nature Deity.......see the chapter entitled 'The Piper at the Gates of Dawn' in the Wind in the Willows.