The Quiet Dead by Brian Stableford
Published by Black Coat Press 2019
review by Sally Startup
In this second novel of the trilogy that begins with The Painter of Spirits, Paul Furneret spends more time with the scandalous author Jane de La Vaudère. The author Brian Stableford (who has translated a number of her novels from French to English) is thus able to speculate about what she might have been like. I very much enjoyed being in Jane’s fictionalised presence.
After living for a while in the Midi with Juliette, Paul has returned to Paris for a brief visit. Both Jane and Juliette have previously seemed very protective of Paul, in spite of having been jealous of one another. Now it falls to Jane to continue trying to protect Paul from the dangers of his own artistic and psychic talents. Even without the influence of hypnosis, Paul sometimes paints without being conscious of what he is doing. He has a whole portfolio of pictures whose meanings are unclear, even to himself. Nevertheless, the Baron de Rochemure is convinced that Paul will be able use his art for the purpose of redemption.
As the hidden story of what happened to the baron and his daughter is gradually revealed, Paul is confronted with confusing and often terrifying imagery. He must remain himself, even while somehow tangled with the imaginations of other people. As Jane de La Vaudère has persistently warned, the process involves great danger.