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Saturday, August 06, 2011

The Diviner's Tale by Bradford Morrow

The Diviner's Tale   is the story of Cassandra Brooks, a dowser (or diviner) who uses instruments such as a forked branch to locate water.

"The dowsing rod is a simple instrument which shows the reaction of the human nervous system to certain factors which are unknown to us at this time." -Albert Einstein

"Dowse \Dowse\, v. i.   To use the dipping or divining rod, as in search of water, ore, etc.  
“Dowsing (Water Witching, Divining, Questing, Doodlebugging ... ) is the ancient art of finding water, minerals and other objects that seem to have a natural magnetic, electromagnetic or other perhaps unknown energy.

Cassandra is dowsing for water when she sees the body of a girl hanging from a tree, but when she returns with the local authorities, the body has vanished.  On a return visit the next day, a dazed and confused girl wanders from the woods.  She is not the girl Cassandra saw, but she is a girl that has been reported missing, and the Sheriff is able to contact her family.

Suspense, supernatural, and mystery are all rolled into one.  The information about dowsing is interesting, the mystery is reasonably involving.  Nice for a stormy night (which I would certainly appreciate about now).

In his Acknowledgements, Morrow mentions V.S. Ramachandran's A Brief Tour of Human Consciousness (Ramachandran is a neuroscientist whose works are part of the cannon of brain and neuroscience) and  Andrew Lang's Custom and Myth (Lang [1844-1912] is the author of The Red Fairy Book, The Blue Fairy Book, etc., revered among those who love and study fairy tales; he contributed to the fields of anthropology, folklore, and myth; he was also a Homeric scholar and contributed to various translations of The Iliad and The Odyssey).  

As is often the case, the sidelines are as interesting as the story.

Fiction. Supernatural/Suspense.  2011.  309 pages.


  1. I heard Ramachandran give a lecture once. Absolutely fascinating! I don't usually read supernatural/suspense fiction, but maybe I'll give this one a try.

  2. ooh, sounds good! esp with wintry days around the corner...