ERICA QUEST – The Silver Castle. Doubleday Crime Club, hardcover, 1978. Reprint hardcover: Detective Book Club, 3-in-1 edition, Sept-Oct 1978.

ERICA QUEST The Silver Castle

   The discovery that Gail Sherbrooke’s father, who she’d thought dead for over twenty years, had just committed suicide in Switzerland sends the aspiring young artist off on a search to learn the truth about a man she had never known.

   Lying just beyond her reach she finds both mystery and romance — the type of story most readers surely find done far too often, and rather badly, too.

   That’s not at all the case here. With much of the charm and intricacy of a hand-made Swiss clock, this is indeed an uncluttered detective story that’s both haunting and wholly enchanting.

From The MYSTERY FANcier, Vol. 3, No. 3, May-June 1979. This review also appeared earlier in the Hartford Courant.



Bibliographic data:    [Taken from the Revised Crime Fiction IV, by Allen J. Hubin]

QUEST, ERICA. Pseudonym of John Sawyer & Nancy Buckingham Sawyer; other pseudonym: Nancy Buckingham

      The Silver Castle (n.) Doubleday 1978
      The October Cabaret (n.) Doubleday 1979
      Design for Murder (n.) Doubleday 1981
      Death Walk (n.) Doubleday 1988 [Kate Maddox]

ERICA QUEST The Silver Castle

      Cold Coffin (n.) Doubleday 1990 [Kate Maddox]
      Model Murder (n.) Doubleday 1991 [Kate Maddox]
      Deadly Deceit (n.) Piatkus 1992 [Kate Maddox]

   I believe the Sawyers were British, but their books as Erica Quest were published only in the US. I seem to have avoided the issue somewhat in my review, but if The Silver Dagger were to be assigned to a genre, I don’t believe it could be called a Gothic. “Romantic suspense,” perhaps, but with a solid core of detection involved, if I can rely on the statement made above by my younger self.

   (Bolstering the detective content of the Quest books is a discovery, made only this evening, that the series character who appeared in their last four books is actually Detective Chief Inspector Kate Maddox.)

   Many of the books the Sawyers wrote as Nancy Buckingham were published only in England; most of the ones that appeared in the US were published in paperback as Gothics by either Ace or Lancer. A typical title might be The Legend of Baverstock Manor (Ace, 1968), which was originally published in the UK as the noticeably less striking Romantic Journey (Hale, 1968).

   The Sawyers also wrote many straight romances, using the additional pen names Christina Abbey, Nancy John, and Hillary London for many of these. A list of these, along with some covers, can be found on the Fantastic Fiction website.