The Haunting Of L.
Norman, author of The Bird Artist and The Museum Guard, both impeccable novels, returns to Nova Scotia for another stripped-down read. As in its predecessors, a redheaded dame and drafty old hotels figure prominently. Young Peter Duvett, on the run from his demons, hooks up with a sinister portrait artist and his ghost-obsessed new wife in 1926. An illicit love affair, deception, and murder await the dubious trio, in ways the reader might not expect. All this sounds rather heady, and the book is indeed a page-turner, but Norman writes with his usual powerful restraint. By story’s end, one of the many guilty parties confesses to his misdeeds in a rabid scribble, ”writing, writing as if to beat the Devil.” A-