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Our Lady of Darkness: 01/28/07
Written originally in 1978 after fighting depression and alcoholism after the death of his wife, the second of the two books in Dark Ladies is a much darker view of magic in the modern world. Whereas The Conjure Wife could take place in any college town, Our Lady of Darkness is set specifically in San Francisco.
The novel supposes that modern magic, specifically black magic is tied to the building of large cities. San Francisco with its hills, history of earthquakes and of course the Transamerica pyramid is a 20th century necropolis.
Take then a skeptic who finds a copy of Megapolisomancy: A New Science of Cities and his undying curiosity. Add in his friends who egg him on, some believing and some not and soon the protagonist is in the middle of a supernatural mystery involving a curse and a long forgotten building. What is 607 Rhodes?
While I preferred the quirky charm of The Conjure Wife more than the dark mystery set in San Francisco I still enjoyed the story. I like horror stories that center around old architecture, especially old cities. I figured out the solution to the story much sooner than the protagonist did and the story felt like inspiration for a Charmed episode (or perhaps the entire series) but it was still a fun read and a good compliment to The Conjure Wife.