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The Demon Lover

MoLI Christmas Ghost Story

The 2021 Christmas Ghost Story was Elizabeth Bowen’s ‘The Demon Lover’ (1945), performed in its entirety by Derbhle Crotty.

Mrs Kathleen Drover returns to her dusty, abandoned Kensington home to gather some of her family’s forgotten belongings. Set in London during World War II, the city is eerily vacant, as families like her own have been evacuated to the countryside to escape the bombings of the Blitz. Nevertheless, Kathleen experiences the distinct and unsettling feeling of being watched. When she discovers a mysterious letter from her former lover, a soldier killed in World War I, memories of their brief courtship and his cold, controlling manner overwhelm her.

Is the letter a cruel joke? Could it be a fabrication of Kathleen’s imagination? Or more frighteningly, are the ghosts of her past reckoning upon the present? In this chilling and uncanny tale, Bowen demonstrates her mastery of the ghost story form.

Reproduced with permission of Curtis Brown Ltd, London, on behalf of the Literary Executors of the Estate of Elizabeth Bowen. Copyright © Elizabeth Bowen. Produced by Dr Katie Mishler, Ian Dunphy, and Benedict Schlepper-Connolly for RadioMoLI; music by Benedict Schlepper-Connolly; sound by Ian Dunphy.

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