A lot of the books we review here are laden with so many facts, often of a dismal sort, that our readers could easily become depressed, angry or even suspicious of their fellow men. We all know that these attributes are properly reserved for the golf course where they move hole locations, outlaw the serving of alcohol at public courses and pair us with bald faced liars whose main club is a foot wedge – all in the interest of teaching us humility and allowing to use the language we learned on the docks someplace other than home and hearth. Here then is an interlude that will add not a single stroke to your card but will give you a few minutes of respite from the day’s headlines and the anticipation of tomorrow.
The haunted major Robert Marshall ; with an introduction by John Updike and the original illustrations by Harry Furniss Hopewell, NJ : Ecco Press, 1999 Marshall, Robert, 1863-1910 Hardcover. xvi, 192 p. : ill. ; 22 cm. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG
Introduced by John Updike and published in America for the first time, The Haunted Major recounts a golf match of epic proportions between adversaries. In this uproarious tale about human conceit and the supernatural, Major the Honorable John William Wentworth Gore, an English gentleman of sublime self-esteem, challenges crack golfer Jim Lindsay to a game for the chance to propose marriage to Mrs. Gunter, a beautiful American millionairess. Although “Jacky” Core, the narrator, alleges to be a marvelously accomplished sportsman, he has never set foot on a fairway and has only seven days to learn to pitch, putt, and drive the course like a veteran.
To prepare for the match, which is to take place on the fictitious St. Magnus links in Scotland (based on the Old Course at St. Andrews), Gore secretly hires a coach and transforms his hotel room into a golf studio, outfitted with turf, a moveable hillock, a bunker, and specially padded walls to absorb drives. Gore is set to win or lose like a gentleman when the revengeful ghost of a Scottish cardinal with some odd-shaped clubs materializes, adding an otherworldly twist to the story.
This new edition, with John Updike’s spirited introduction and Harry Furniss’s humorous original illustrations, fixes The Haunted Major in the uppermost tier of sports classics.