Chuck Musgrave takes a job doing charcoal sketches of Positano. His employer is Kex—a man for mischief, with no care for consequence. Chuck resembles James Hilfstone, a no-good who’s been out of town for a while; for Kex it’s a sport to send Chuck unknowing into the dense community of eccentric expats.
Chuck takes a tumble down some stairs. Things really go downhill when Kex sends blackmail letters in Hilfstone’s name. The pressure is on, and it’s more than some can take.
Betty Dannister lives in a fortress-like house on the bluff, with steely father, unstable brother—and other family members. Prone to long walks in isolated uplands, the quirky blonde clearly has a lot on her mind. Chuck is smitten; when the Hilfstone gag threatens Betty, he acts—and uncovers a disturbing situation.
SF Grandmaster Jack Vance spun most of his yarns in realms of far-off time and space, with a style to make unusual settings and events feel familiar and immediate. Bringing his talent to the mystery genre, his novels are sublimely atmospheric, written with firsthand knowledge of period and locale.
Set in the scenic Amalfi region in the 1950s, Strange People, Queer Notions shines a light on tangles of conduct and emotional conflict, in Vance’s most psychologically involved work.
Strange People, Queer Notions is Volume 15 of the Spatterlight Press Signature Series. Released in the centenary of the author's birth, this handsome new collection is based upon the prestigious Vance Integral Edition. Select volumes enjoy up-to-date maps, and many are graced with freshly-written forewords contributed by a distinguished group of authors. Each book bears a facsimile of the author's signature and a previously-unpublished photograph, chosen from family archives for the period the book was written. These unique features will be appreciated by all, from seasoned Vance collector to new reader sampling the spectrum of this author's influential work for the first time. – John Vance II
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