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Dark Ladies: Conjure Wife/Our Lady of Darkness

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  236 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Conjure Wife

Witchcraft. Norman Saylor considered it nothing but superstition, until he learned that his own wife was a practicing sorceress. Even still, he refuses to accept the truth that every woman knows...that in the secret occult warfare that governs our lives, witchcraft is a matter of life and death.

Our Lady of Darkness

Middle-aged San Francisco horror writer Franz W
Paperback, 352 pages
Published October 12th 1999 by Orb Books (first published 1991)
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Community Reviews

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 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
Wow. I am glad I finally read this one. I've had it in my pile for a while, and in my classic horror/fantasy reading quest, Fritz Leiber definitely is a must read.

So, let's get down to business:

Review of Conjure Wife

I read this out of the Dark Ladies: Conjure Wife/Our Lady of Darkness duology, but I wanted to jot down my thoughts separately for this one before I finish the volume.

I found the writing clever. I was transplanted into the cutthroat world of college politics. Who knew that the wives
Wonderfully atmospheric and suggestive, these two novellas are among my favorite in a genre that is a peculiar blend of science fiction and horror. Leiber's ability to imply unsettling things makes both stories incredibly creepy. Of the two tales, I found Our Lady of Darkness to be the most sinister and effective. There's one passage concerning the 'scholar's mistress' in particular that was so nightmarish that it still bothers me to think about it. It wasn't disturbing in an overt monsters-unde ...more
Picked this up at a library with the intent to read more genre classics. As such it was very good and surprisingly not all that dated, particularly the first story, which was the oldest one. I very much enjoyed Leiber's writing style, his attention to detail and the premises, particularly the second one. It was a bit long winded at times or suprisingly and somewhat oddly whimsical, if that's the right word, at others, the effervescent quality of old movies or sitcoms. Not a particularly quick re ...more
Fritz Leiber, I can't wait to read your other works. I have no doubt that your Fafhrd and Grey Mouser books are going to be stupendous. However, I do hope your endings don't suck so much as these two novellas.

At times, it was difficult for me to get through Conjure Wife and Our Lady of Darkness. Leiber's protagonists are far too inactive for me to really jive with. I suppose that's what you get with investigative fiction. I also disliked many of the startling elements within Leiber's prose. The
Orrin Grey
This time out I actually just re-read Our Lady of Darkness, but both it and Conjure Wife are great novels, and I've rarely bought a book I was happier with than this particular double feature.

Our Lady of Darkness is just simply an amazing novel, an amazing piece of atmosphere and suggestion, and one of my favorite books ever. I re-read it this time because I just recently watched Suspiria, and the connection between the two (by way of Thomas de Quincey's Suspiria de Profundis) got me interested.
A while ago I picked this up on the strength of Leiber's name and the one short story I've ever read of his ("Ill-Met in Lankhmar" being a surprisingly moving sword-and-sorcery story).* The two short novels here are billed on the back cover as urban fantasy, which is to say, they're about what happens when fantasy elements break through into our world (so, Gaiman urban fantasy, not Mieville urban fantasy). In the first, an academic wife uses witchcraft to help her anthropologist husband, while i ...more
Emily Sours
I've only just discovered Leiber as a writer, so I'm randomly picking books of his to read. I really enjoyed Our Lady of Darkness more than Conjure Wife. The best thing about it was finding the seeds of the Harry Potter story in it: Leiber creates the idea of "paramentals" (spirits which come out of a living being and are similar to animals) and also uses as an evil antagonist a "noseless one" (can't get more Voldemort than that!). The ending was a letdown but the journey there was fantastic!! A ...more
Fritz Leiber's writing style is spell-binding. I enjoyed the two novellas, but I liked Conjure Wife the best. Both are spooky, haunting tales with rich textures and likable, intriguing characters. You will be on the edge of your seat with suspense. Conjure Wife especially had me biting my nails and fretting for days! Our Lady of Darkness was a little more convoluted than it needed to be, I thought. I think it was a little cluttered, but still the climactic end was quite chilling.
Scott Miller
Some 'weird' fiction from Fritz Leiber...pretty creepy.
Horror and fantasy mix. This is the precursor of the tv sitcom "Bewitched" and a lot of ideals of the modern witch. Author wrote Our Lady of Darkness while re-covering from alcoholism and grieving a lost relationship. Kind of Lovecraft-esque.
Ben Lovegrove
Fritz Leiber's modern Gothic tales. Conjure Wife has a sort of film noir quality to it while Our Lady of Darkness is a great supernatural.
Both novels in Dark Ladies depend upon a psychological uneasiness rather than gore, and while there are moments that startle and shock, they inspire anticipation and suspense more than nausea or disgusted intrigue. (Just my type of horror.) The philosophical underpinnings remain fascinating long after the stories are over, and while the two novels are independent from one other, if they're read as though they exist in the same world, the ideas behind each blend and deepen in some really interest ...more
I only read "our lady of darkness" because I really liked Leibers short story "Smoke Ghost" in the "Weird" collection. It was an interesting read, especially if you are into the whole pantheon of weird authors at the turn of the 20th century in the US (Lovecraft, Ashton Smith etc...) I guess it was pretty radical for the times, looking for horror in an urban setting. Moody, at times a little slow but full of ideas that connected really well with me. I liked the conclusion of the story a lot but ...more
Feb 09, 2010 Aneel rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Aneel by: Aerin
Horror story written in a slow-building style, full of the protagonist's unfocused dread. Reminiscent of Lovecraft, structurally. Quite a bit of the plot revolves around San Francisco geography, and some of the climactic scenes take place just up the hill from my apartment.
Sep 18, 2014 Matt marked it as to-read
Shelves: abandoned
Lost interest in this some time ago, didn't finish it. Won't review it.
Both of the short novels in this volume are absolutely world-class.
Oct 21, 2009 Greg rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: scifi
Conjure Wife is an absolute classic of speculative fiction.
Mari Kaczynoki
Mari Kaczynoki marked it as to-read
Apr 05, 2015
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Brian Dunn marked it as to-read
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Fritz Leiber was one of the more interesting of the young writers who came into HP Lovecraft's orbit, and some of his best early short fiction is horror rather than sf or fantasy. He found his mature voice early in the first of the sword-and-sorcery adventures featuring the large sensitive barbarian Fafhrd and the small street-smart-ish Gray Mouser; he returned to this series at various points in ...more
More about Fritz Leiber...
Swords and Deviltry (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, #1) Swords Against Death (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, #2) Swords Against Wizardry (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, #4) Swords in the Mist (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, #3) Ill Met in Lankhmar (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, #1-2)

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