Gresham & Doyle (2016) trade paperback edition, 337 pp.
OF MONSTERS IN CUPBOARDS . . .
For as long as most anyone can remember, there has been a monster in Eldritch's Cupboard.
Just who is this Eldritch, you may ask, and where is his Cupboard? And why does he keep a monster in it?
Hickory, dickory, dare.
The piskie flew up in the air.
The man in the Cupboard
Hisself is no sluggard.
Hickory, dickory, dare.
So ran the ages-old lines of doggerel posted on a board at the Pack Horse Inn. Who wrote them? And what do they mean?
Now Dr. Hugh Callander, formerly of Maunder College, has returned home to Dithering to find that the cavern known as Eldritch's Cupboard is active once again.
Who is behind the livestock losses on the neighboring farms, the mysterious disappearances of Dithering townsfolk? Is it poachers who are making use of the Cupboard? Thieves and murderers? Or is it something else entirely?
Might the dark tales of a monster actually be true? Tales of a ravenous beast that for centuries had made the Cupboard its lair, and Dithering townsfolk its prey?
Housemaid serving at Callander farm
Miss Letitia Bingham
An elderly neighbor-lady of Dr. Callander's
Dr. Callander's faithful bay gelding brought with him from Maunder College
Reclusive dwarf hunchback, of a singularly disagreeable temperament and mysterious habits; a self-made outcast
Dr. Hugh Callander
The owner of Callander farm; formerly tutor and lecturer in the natural sciences at Maunder College, Penhaligon
Miss Violet Carswell
A good-looking young woman, daughter of a veterinary and long acquainted with Dr. Callander
A pocket glypt, or toy version of the far larger Glyptodontus species; the pet of Miss Dora Fetching
Mr. Tristan Colley
A farmer and older neighbor of the Callanders just along the stream from Callander farm; sons are Quince and Kale, daughters Lettice and Olive
Mr. Philip Earnscliff
Young solicitor in the employ of Bagwash and Bladdergowl, Bodmin Square, Hoggard; the narrator of the story
Miss Dora Fetching
The pretty daughter of old Squire Fetching, of the Moorings
The master of the Moorings at Dithering and a widower, with a wooden leg that squeaks; father of Dora
Mackerel tabby kitten belonging to Dr. Callander, and found by him at Callander farm; named for figgie hobbin, a favored dish
A big, showy calico cat, adopted by Dr. Callander while an undergraduate at Maunder College
Pot-boy at the Pack Horse Inn; the landlord's nephew
Dr. Willis Hankey
Long the sole physician and surgeon in Dithering and its immediate environs; a fussy, dressy little man
Ancient retainer of the elderly sisters Miss Bingham and Mrs. Lindsay-Woolsey
Mr. George Jarlcot
A plump, jolly-favored man, residing at Littlegates in Lingonshire; a relation of Squire Fetching's
Miss Amelia Lindsay-Woolsey
Sister and companion of Miss Amelia Bingham
Maidservant of Dora Fetching
"The old man of the waterways" - a legendary character and fiend of a bargeman, said to ply the lakes and rivers of Lingonshire
Mr. J. Readymoney
Proprietor/landlord of the Pack Horse Inn at Dithering
Dr. Callander's grizzled servant and helper at Callander farm; formerly his college "gyp" while at Maunder
Dr. Callander's chief household servant at the farm
His wife; an invalid of many years
A moldy-looking little old man in dingy plaids; hanger-on at the Pack Horse Inn, always short of funds
Cedar Jack Tregennis
A local woodsman and adept at the quarterstaff
Sir Lancelot Wale
Formerly Dr. Callander's undergraduate chum at Maunder College, now his personal physician; a great medical baronet with a very exclusive practice
Featured image: Detail from A Garden in Shoreham, c. 1830 (w/c) by Samuel Palmer (1805-81). Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK / De Agostini Picture Library / Bridgeman Images