Blackberries Laced with Arsenic

we have always lived in the castle book coverShirley Jackson is most widely known for “The Lottery,” a short story that she meant as “…a graphic dramatization of the pointless violence and general inhumanity” in people’s lives, which caused subscription cancelations and hate mail to The New Yorker in 1948. Jackson continued her themes of societal unease with an added layer of agoraphobia in her novel We Have Always Lived in the Castle. The local village hates the Blackwood family. Merricat Blackwood only leaves her home to go to the library and the market. Merricat lives with her older sister, Constance, and her decrepit Uncle Julian. The rest of the family is dead. Murdered. But by who? Sympathetic magic, riots, a fire, repressed hatred and everlasting love all lead to the answer.