The following announcement appeared in the Salterton Evening Bellman: "Professor and Mrs Walter Vambrace are pleased to announce the engagement of their daughter, Pearl Veronica, to Solomon Bridgetower Esq, son of..."
Although the malice that prompted this false engagement notice was aimed at three people only - Solly Bridgetower, Pearl Vambrace, and Gloster Ridley, the anxiety-ridden local newspaper editor - before the leaven of malice had ceased to work it had changed permanently, for good or ill, the lives of many citizens of Salterton.
This is the second novel in The Salterton Trilogy (which also includes TEMPEST-TOST and A MIXTURE OF FRAILTIES).
Robertson Davies, novelist, playwright, literary critic and essayist, was born in 1913 in Thamesville, Ontario. The Manticore was published in 1973, followed by The Salterton Trilogy (Tempest-Tost, Leaven of Malice, winner of the Leacock Award for Humour, and A Mixture of Frailties); The Deptford Trilogy (Fifth Business, The Manticore and World of Wonders); The Cornish Trilogy (The Rebel Angels, What's Bred in the Bone, shortlisted for the 1986 Booker Prize, and The Lyre of Orpheus); Murther & Walking Spirits; and The Cunning Man. His other work includes One Half of Robertson Davies, The Enthusiasms of Robertson Davies, Robertson Davies: The Well-Tempered Critic, The Papers of Samuel Marchbanks, High Spirits, A Voice from the Attic and The Merry Heart, a posthumous collection of autobiography, lectures and essays. Many of his books are published by Penguin. Robertson Davies died in December 1995.