Lois Duncan (Steinmetz Arquette)

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Julia Whedon

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Last Updated on June 7, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 183

["Summer of Fear"] is the story of a very square Southwestern community invaded by a sorceress in lithesome teen-age form. Julia is orphaned by sudden tragedy and taken in by trusting relatives. Rachel—the narrator and resident teen-age daughter in that household—watches in helpless horror as cousin Julia steals her boyfriend, takes over her best friend, and displaces her in the affections of her own family. Rachel surmises this chick has a lot going for her besides looks and personality. She's not just a bitch—but a witch! Killing the family dog with voodoo, putting her curse on those who suspect her (a near homicide), and finally plotting a fatal accident for Mom, she is found out only at last, and almost too late.

Though the characters are the usual Mom, Pop, Sis and Junior cut-outs, the story is well paced and decently suspenseful. Lois Duncan is a pro. Good practice for young readers getting ready for Eric Ambler.

Julia Whedon, "Witches and Werewolves," in The New York Times Book Review (© 1977 by The New York Times Company; reprinted by permission), March 6, 1977, p. 29.∗

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