Julius Raphael's Diary


A Novel by


Andrew Lansdale

Property in the bricks and mortar sense, has a definite feel to it. To use modern phrases, it can have either good vibes or bad vibes. Some properties feel as if the sunlight has danced on their roofs and dappled their walls since the day they were built. By contrast, others have a most unattractive feel about them. A considerable number even feel as if someone has died there the day before. The cold dankness of them can be felt from across the street.

I believe in what might be called the 'properties of property'; but can a house be a character in a book? A house can certainly have character. Fictionally, Howard's End and Mandalay had character. Factually, the Bloody Tower in London has character, despite the unspeakable cruelties committed within. Paradoxically, Wandsworth prison (a similar place of incarceration) has the chill damp feel of November about it, even upon a summer's day.

The house in my book in France has character. The Maison du Lac is a Chateau with a soul. The Chateau on the lake has memories and secrets to unlock. The bigger the houses, the bigger the secrets.

The other main character in my book is George Campbell, new owner of the Chateau. Unusual discoveries lead him gradually to the house's deep secrets and he feels challenged when tracking down the previous owners of the Maison du Lac in an effort to restore the family's plundered heritage.

The novel opens in wartime France where the Germans have occupied more than half the country and the iron grip of the SS is tightening.

The Raphaels are a Jewish family who have a modest Chateau in the French countryside. They are the last descendants of a wealthy Paris banking family and are victimised by the Gestapo and eventually, the family disappears.

Over fifty years later, a moderately successful writer George Campbell sells the film rights to one of his books. With the proceeds he tours France on the lookout for a country house. After a long search, he finds the fairy tale property which has lain empty and neglected for many years.

These two characters, the chateau and the writer, combine to discover the fate of the Raphaels.

ISBN: 1-4137-4042-1