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Dark Ladies: Conjure Wife/Our Lady of Darkness
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Dark Ladies: Conjure Wife/Our Lady of Darkness

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  269 Ratings  ·  21 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
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Paperback, 352 pages
Published October 12th 1999 by Orb Books (first published 1991)
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 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
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
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Kay
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
Bandit
Aug 04, 2012 Bandit rated it really liked it
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
Derek
May 24, 2012 Derek rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Benjamin
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
Orrin Grey
Jul 05, 2011 Orrin Grey rated it it was amazing
Shelves: re-read
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.
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Emily Brown
Feb 05, 2012 Emily Brown rated it really liked it
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
Mona
Oct 21, 2009 Mona rated it really liked it
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
Jan 06, 2008 Scott Miller rated it really liked it
Some 'weird' fiction from Fritz Leiber...pretty creepy.
Felix Purat
I read a sci-fi story by Fritz Leiber that I liked, so I gambled upon a pair of novellas. The stories in and of themselves are not bad, Leibers style is concise and the type of supernatural ideas he comes up with are creative in their basis on hokey magic and folk supernaturalism. But overall the stories are just flat and the oomph that horror writing should have is simply not there. The Conjure Wife is the better one, a difficult choice to make since Our Lady of Darkness takes place in San Fran ...more
Kim
Aug 31, 2007 Kim rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror, steve-rec
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
Electric
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
Jonathan Barnett
May 04, 2016 Jonathan Barnett rated it really liked it
A Specter is Haunting a Writer in San Francisco. A writer notices strange things when he sees a brown cloak walking through a park from a far. The answers are found the history of the city around him and the geometric patterns of the buildings as well. Its sort of an expanded version of M.R. James "Whistle and I'll Come to You.". Good reading. Recommended for those who love stories of local color like "Who shot who at the bar in 1902." kind of stuff.
Steven Cady
Conjure Wife of 1944 is well written with a dramatic climax, conjuring if you will, the conflicts among university professors. Our Lady of Darkness of 1977 seems reflects Leiber's life at the time and is somewhat similar to Tales of the City but with a supernatural element that seems more strained than in the other novel collected here.
Wes
Mar 07, 2014 Wes rated it really liked it
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.
Aneel
Feb 09, 2010 Aneel rated it it was ok
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.
Ben Lovegrove
Jan 20, 2015 Ben Lovegrove rated it it was amazing
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.
Gregory
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May 02, 2013
Ashaley Lenora
Ashaley Lenora rated it it was amazing
Nov 28, 2011
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Dec 03, 2007
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Fritz Reuter Leiber, Jr. 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 variou ...more
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