From Publishers Weekly
The ambience of fin de siecle France imbues these eight gothic tales in the third volume in Lee's Secret Books of Paradys tetralogy, tracing the tortured lives once led by those buried in the crypts and cemeteries of the mythical (or forgotten) city of Paradys. "The Weasel Bride" twists a folktale about a man who marries an enchanted weasel and dies of her bite into an account of a young husband who kills his beloved bride on their wedding night and takes her dreadful secret to the gallows. The artist in "The Glass Dagger," who normally saves her emotion for her art, is consumed by jealous rage and turns to supernatural revenge when a jaded aristocrat tries an old stratagem to win her love. In "The Moon Is a Mask" a drudge who creates a world of beauty in her garret room steals to buy a mask that turns her into a vampire owl. The miasma of corruption and death, combined with vivid and at times elegiac writing will engross readers who fancy this dark shade of fantasy writing.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
Third of Lee's hitherto impressive Secret Books of Paradys: eight odd tales set in a forgotten French city where magic works and horrid things lurk in dark corners. Here, alas, the atmospheric backdrop of dread and sexual tension has gone missing, leaving only a few ghoulish scraps. Even more sadly, the stories vary widely in quality--indeed some are structurally perfunctory, held together only by Lee's still rich, evocative, limpid prose. The absence of a unifying theme doesn't help. Thus: a vagina with teeth; voodoo; a Typhoid Mary variant; a curse exposed as mere superstition; a supernatural conjuror; and, in a somewhat more satisfying vein, an intriguing Lost World variant, a vengeful woman artist, and a vampire-harpy betrayed by her lover. Slight and disappointingly mediocre fare after splendid work (The Book of the Beast, 1991) last time out. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.