by Fritz Leiber
“There are two sides to every woman. . . One is rational, like a man. The other knows.”
Norman, a successful professor at a mid-level private college is happily married to his wife Tansy when he one day catches her practicing witchcraft. He immediately pounces on her superstitions and insists she rid the house of all things magic. She complies both out of love for her husband and embarrassment for her beliefs. As all protective charms against Norman are destroyed he begins injuring himself in small ways, having troubles at school and with students, and he begins questioning the validity of his claims against his wife’s practices as ‘nonsense.’ As his career comes further under fire in the ultra-competitive world of academia he wonders if he’s coming under full attack, with his wife’s charms the only thing that had been protecting him from disaster. Then Tansy herself comes under fire…
Mostly the book deals with a man of letters and science confronted with potential supernatural elements. He can deny these bizarre occurrences if he chooses and let his wife slip away, or he can embrace the witchcraft he’s spent his life labeling as superstitious mumbo-jumbo and fight for her.
A fantastic horror story, coming in at number 16 on the Centipede Press top 100 horror novels of all time, Conjure Wife is easily accessible, fast paced, knowledgeable of the occult and has a few bone-chilling moments, even for hardened horror readers.
“He heard a little sound start and stop in Tansy’s throat. It might have been a gasp, or a sob, or a snarl.”