A Lighthearted Quest by Ann Bridge

By Ann Bridge

While Julia undertook to discover her cousin, Colin Munro, final heard of cruising a yacht off the north coast of Africa, the search appeared lighthearted sufficient. yet, earlier than she had comprehensive, she used to be concerned with Moorish old buyers, a Belgian lady archaeologist, Purcell, the enigmatic barkeeper, and American airman, the saurian Mr. St. John, and various different characters fascinating or sinister. Julia’s seek takes her a cargo-boart to Casablanca, and thence to Tangier, Fez and Marrakech. Her ’dumb-blonde’ good looks, camouflaging a full of life intelligence, will get her via unforeseen problems and risks. Colin is located, and the mysterious reason behind his disappearance eventually printed. . .

The first in a sequence of 8 Julia Probyn novels, The Lighthearted Quest monitors a mix of humour and event which transports us to unique areas and introduces us to pleasing humans, but additionally throws a great deal of mild at the explosive political concerns that French Morocco encountered within the 50s.

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Gangrenous molds took to the foundations before the roofs were fairly nailed down. Mud crept up their sides and paint fell away in long white slashes. Some terrible plague seemed to overtake them one by one. They were rented to families of gaunt hollow-eyed and darkskinned people, not Mellungeons and not exactly anything else, who reproduced with such frightening prolificness that their entire lives appeared devoted to the production of the ragged line of scions which shoeless and tattered sat for hours at a time on the porch edges, themselves not unlike the victims of some terrible disaster, and stared out across the blighted land with expressions of neither hope nor wonder nor despair.

The drinkers would pause, liquid tilting in their glasses, the structure would shudder violently, a broom would fall, a bottle, and the inn would slowly right itself and assume once more its normal reeling equipoise. The drinkers would raise their glasses, talk would begin again. Remarks alluding to the eccentricities of the inn were made only outside the building. To them the inn was animate as any old ship to her crew and it bred an atmosphere such as few could boast, a solidarity due largely to its very precariousness.

You’ns get in here. We goin to Knoxville, proud to hep ye out. Sylder presented them each with a welcoming smile as they climbed in and studied each in turn his face under the domelight. He dropped into the Hopper—the steep twin fork road—without braking. The little one between him and Tipton squealed once and then hushed with her hand clapped over her mouth as they swerved across the pike and shot out into blackness, the lights slapping across the upper reaches of trees standing sharply up the side of the hollow.

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