Your writer, in conjuring this tale of murder, adultery, incest, ghosts, redemption and remorse, takes you first to a daffodil-filled garden in Highgate, North London, where, just outside the kitchen window, something startling shimmers on the very edges of perception. Fluttering and chattering, these are our kehua – a whole multiplying flock of Maori spirits (all will be explained) goaded into wakefulness by the conversation within.
Scarlet – a long-legged, skinny young woman of the new world order – has announced to Beverley – her aged grandmother – that she intends to leave home and husband for the glamorous actor, Jackson Wright – he of the vampire films. Beverley may be well on her way to her ninth decade, but she’s not beyond using this intelligence to stir up a little trouble.
And neither are the kehua outside the window.
The sins and traumas of the past haunt us all. Call them hungry ghosts, grateful dead, dybbuks, kelpies, poltergeists, furies or kehua, we carry them with us – across continents, oceans, decades and generations. Quite how they become attached to a three-year-old white girl is the origin of your writer’s tale. Suffice to say that murder is at the root of it all, that Beverley and her female bloodline carry a weighty spiritual burden and that this is the story of how they learn to live with their ghosts, or maybe how their ghosts learn to live with them…