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Leaven of Malice (The Salterton Trilogy #2)

4.13  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,139 Ratings  ·  54 Reviews
following announcement appeared in the Salterton Evening Bellman: "Professor and Mrs. Walter Vambrace are pleased to announce the engagement of their daughter, Pearl Veronica, to Solomon Bridgetower, Esq., son of..."Although the malice that prompted the insertion of this false engagement notice was aimed at three people only-Solly Bridgetower, a junior instructor in Englis ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published January 1st 1980 by Penguin Canada (first published 1954)
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Best Canadian Literature
93rd out of 857 books — 834 voters
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Best Books of the Decade: 1950's
265th out of 671 books — 965 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,649)
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Наверное, неправа я все-таки, поставив 4, потому что в определённой степени это ещё один идеальный театральный роман Робертсона Дэвиса, где интрига и сюжет выстроены ровно по законам комической оперы, где есть и фарс, и танцы, и фокусы с переодеванием, и обязательная любовная мелодрама, и оскорбленный отец, таскающий за ухо непослушную дочь, и, разумеется, великолепные монологи и авансцены. Характерные персонажи Дэвиса – это, пожалуй, лучшее, что могла предложить нам литература после Диккенса, а ...more
Nov 15, 2007 Sabrina rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: AmCan lovers worldwide
This may be Davies' best work, but I don't know yet. It's as good as, if not better than, "Fifth Business," though it comes in the middle of a trilogy instead of at the beginning. On its own, it is funny and engaging, but when mixed with "Tempest-tost," it is positively brilliant.

The story begins with a newspaper editor, always a plus to a reader who has, for better or worse, made her career in the news business. It begins, most unfortunately, with an engagement notice that should never have bee
Jul 01, 2012 Oscar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: míos, mainstream, humor
De nuevo volvemos al imaginario pueblo de Salterton, en esta la segunda novela de la trilogía que lleva el nombre de tan singular localidad. Si 'A merced de la tempestad' giraba alrededor del mundillo del teatro, con ’Levadura de malicia’ Davies nos da a conocer lo que se cuece en el mundillo periodístico. Todo empieza con un anuncio publicado en el Evening Bellman en el que se comunica el enlace matrimonial entre Pearl Vambrace y Solly Bridgetower, para el 31 de noviembre, lo que resulta ser un ...more
Jorge Cienfuegos
¡Qué maravilla! Me ha gustado mucho más que "A merced de la tempestad". Regresa al pueblecito de Salterton y retoma a algunos de los personajes del primer libro (aunque ambos son completamente independientes), y narra una historia mucho más tierna y con una carga todavía mayor de ironía y humor. Un reflejo en la Canadá de mediados del siglo XX de ese costumbrismo del XIX que tanto me gusta. Me muero de ganas por leer el siguiente libro ambientado en Salterton y continuar con las otras trilogías ...more
Rafa Sánchez
Nov 24, 2014 Rafa Sánchez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Leer una novela de Robertson Davies es siempre un gran placer para mí, el estilo de este magnífico narrador te estimula, te divierte y te abre, milagrosamente, nuevos campos de conocimiento, sin perder el gran sentido del humor que transmite en todas sus páginas. La capacidad de crear personajes interesantes, la curiosidad que te despierta por la acción, todo es una delicia aunque la historia no tenga mucho desarrollo. Si quieren leer una historia divertida por el simple gusto por lo bien escrit ...more
Joyce Lagow
Nov 26, 2010 Joyce Lagow rated it it was amazing
Second in the Salterton trilogy.

Robertson Davies was one of Canada’s most distinguished writers; he is probably better known for his Deptford and Cornish trilogies than for the Salterton trilogy, but if so, that’s a shame, because he brings to the second book of the Salterton trilogy qualities that aren’t as immediately evident in the others.

Davies was at one time the publisher of a newspaper in a small Canadian university town, just like one of the protagonists in Leaven of Malice, Gloster Ridl
Danielfarlow Farlow
Oct 15, 2011 Danielfarlow Farlow rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most delightful books I've EVER read. If you are any of: a pseudo-intellectual, journalist, paper reader, writer, small town person, lover of love, lover of wit, lover of autumn--hell, even a rom-com fan-- I can go on on and on about the many people who would love this book, too, then read it now!!

This book will cure all that ails you! It's perspective is a wonderful antidote to modern life which has sought out, ransacked, and commodified every possible human pleasure except
Jun 12, 2008 Cindy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: fiction, funny, 888
Just finished listening to this one on tape. I had heard about this author before, but I wasn't familiar with any of his books until I got this one from the library. It didn't disappoint!

Someone decides to insert a false engagement notice in the newspaper, announcing the upcoming wedding between Pearl Vambrace and Professor Solomon Bridgetower on November 31. The newspaper runs the announcement and then finds itself in the middle of an uproar. The plot contains elements of Romeo and Juliet, with
Jul 26, 2014 Debbie rated it really liked it
I thought Tempest Tost was amusing. Leaven of Malice was hilarious!
Aaron Arnold
Jun 21, 2016 Aaron Arnold rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, read-in-2016
The more of Davies' novels you read, the more absurdly pleasant his general worldview becomes, like a landscape painting where the harmony and attraction of each detail increases the more of the vista you see. As you finish each one it becomes almost aggravating that you can't live in his world: a place of enormous good humor, full of interest and mischief, where every evil has been abolished, vices are merely virtues imperfectly expressed, conflicts stem from lapses in authenticity rather than ...more
Mar 04, 2014 Helen rated it really liked it
This second in Davies' trilogy set in Salterton Ontario uses his newspaper background as a foundation. We meet Gloster Ridley, the editor of the Salterton Evening Bellman, a moment before the roof falls in on him. He is hoping that he will be given an honorary doctorate for the assistance and advice he has given Waverley University in founding a journalism department and he is trying to find a way to force the former editor and current essay writer Mr. Shilitoe to finally retire. A false engagem ...more
Jul 29, 2015 Leah rated it really liked it
Shelves: bookbingonw
This was assigned reading for a Post-War Canadian Literature class in college. I recall disliking it intensely, perhaps not even reading it completely. But that was more than 20 years ago, and my taste has changed enormously. Since then I've read two Robertson Davies trilogies which I enjoyed enormously. As I need to reread a title for the BookBingoNW challenge, I thought tackling a book I remember disliking might prove interesting. At least it is a paperback I can tuck easily in my purse for th ...more
Love the writing in the book, as I did the first in this trilogy. The characters are finely drawn, with humour and understanding.

I'm going to gripe about the introduction to all three books, however. I found quite a few inaccuracies with regard to the first book. Now, having read the second, there are a couple others I noted. Perhaps it had been quite some time between when Margaret MacMillan read the book and wrote the introduction. At any rate, nowhere in the book can I find Professor Vambrace
Jul 20, 2012 Lara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2012
Goodness, I love Davies. I wasn't a huge fan of the first book in this trilogy, though I definitely enjoyed it, and so I put off reading the second one for a long time. I shouldn't have. I totally agree with other reviewers who have said that it's just as good, if not better, than Fifth Business. Leaven of Malice certainly has less of the magical about it, though towards the end Davies ventures a little towards that, but the scope of this story is smaller, and feels more complete to me. I love t ...more
Brilliant. Funny. Poignant even at times. Robertson takes us back to Salterton some four years after Tempest-Tost, where someone has placed a false engagement notice about Pearl Vambrace and Solomon Bridgetower in the paper. Professor Vambrace is outraged, thinking that the mysterious 'X' did it as an insult to him. When he doesn't get the apology he wants from Gloster Ridley, the Bellman's editor, he decides to sue for libel. Everyone in town seems to be affected by the hubbub created and we ge ...more
May 12, 2015 Sharron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Davies' writing is somewhat old fashioned (this title was published in 1954) and the plot has a very sedate and mannered tone, not unlike a story by Barbara Pym. But, wow, does he ever write beautifully. And his descriptions of people are small gems. With just a few sentences by him you feel you've actually known his characters for years.
Sep 25, 2015 Ian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Appearing in the announcements column of the Salterton Newspaper, the engagement of Solly Bridgetower and Pearl Vambrace surprises only a few people, chiefly the couple themselves and their parents. That the wedding is designated for November 31st does nothing to alleviate the indignation of Professor Vambrace, who threatens an action for libel against Gloster Ridley and his newspaper. As in Tempest Tost, the characteristics of middle-class, small-town, 1950s Canada are given a thorough, but aff ...more
Feb 28, 2014 Steve rated it really liked it
Reading Robertson Davies is one of life's great pleasures. His work is funny, original and learned. His characters are so well detailed and described that they live. My favourite remains The Deptford Trilogy, but really why choose favourites amongst such fine gems?
Mar 16, 2014 Rebecca rated it really liked it
I really don't have the time to keep re-reading Robertson Davies novels, but I just can't help myself...
Margaret McCamant
Jul 01, 2013 Margaret McCamant rated it really liked it
Second book in the Salterton Trilogy. I've now reserved a copy at the library of the third, A Mixture of Frailties, the one I don't own. It was fun to follow some characters we met in the first book, although I'm sure this could stand alone. Although these books take place in a mid-20th-century Canadian city, the characters and their quirks are pretty universal and timeless, as well as funny. Descriptions of clergy and church musicians hit close to home for me. I imagine the same would be true f ...more
Apr 17, 2016 Sdianemac rated it really liked it
Don't usually read mystery but I enjoyed this book.
Nov 25, 2013 Pat rated it liked it
I have had this book on my "to-read" bookshelf since the 1970's!! and finally read it. I didn't realize that it was part of The Salterton Trilogy (#2) but it works fine as a stand alone book. At first it seemed tedious with wordiness but it grew on me as I read. A false engagement announcement in the small town newspaper begins all the trouble and ends up involving many players across the town lighting up the long standing animosity between the two families. Lawyers are engaged and everyone gets ...more
Paul Wilner
Jul 09, 2015 Paul Wilner rated it it was amazing
Dead on.
Jun 27, 2011 Lynetta rated it really liked it
Recommended to Lynetta by: book group
Shelves: general-fiction
This book was published in 1954 but has held up well. It reminds me of the 50s television shows and movies in which a simple mistake brings much trouble. The engagement announcement of two adult children of two professors vying for an academic position years ago brings the family feuds back into play, along with a host of other interesting, interrelated characters. The situations are well drawn and creative. A good summer read book.
Nanna Knudsen
Nov 17, 2013 Nanna Knudsen rated it it was amazing
Hjerteskærende og morsom, ondskabsfuld og forstående. Stærkere end første bog i serien, der gås mere i dybden med personerne. Efter min mening den mest helstøbte i Salterton-trilogien, men da de tre bøger er meget forskellige, kan det være et spørgsmål om smag og behag. Jeg synes, at Davies i denne rammer den perfekte balance mellem farcen og den mere alvorlige roman.
I can't believe that a book about practically nothing can be so entertaining. I think I loved every character no matter how ridiculous, which might owe something to the fact that I think I've met people just like all the ones in this book. It is a story filled with the hypocrites, prejudices and gossip of a small town and how could you not love the happy ending.
Jul 16, 2012 Sarah rated it it was amazing
Sort of a slow starter, but Robertson Davies' writing is creative and articulate, and his diction forces me to use the dictionary ever so often, which I love. His observations on human character are so well-stated, you could fill up a quote book as you read his books... (does anyone else keep a quote book? I used to, but I need to dig it out again)
Nov 27, 2010 Spotsalots added it
Shelves: fiction
Like Tempest-Tost, not as funny now as it was years ago, but still worthwhile. Also provides a curious picture of what Davies must have done as a provincial newspaper editor in the 1950s, as this aspect of the book seems much closer to what I imagine journalism was like in 1910 than to what it's like now.
Feb 21, 2010 Jeff rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I was a bit worried about this author - when you have a country as devoid of authentic homegrown culture as Canada, the occasional guy like Davies who comes along can have his reputation puffed up a bit.

Good solid funny stuff. It certainly felt its age, but I knew its age going in so didn't mind.
May 16, 2009 Adam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Print journalists
This is far from Davies' best work (for that, pick up Fifth Business and the rest of the Deptford Trilogy), and much of the humor is in the parlor comedy style, which rings a bit quaint today. Still, as a newspaper man, I loved all the comedy he found in newspaper editors, writers and readers.
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William Robertson Davies, CC, FRSC, FRSL (died in Orangeville, Ontario) was a Canadian novelist, playwright, critic, journalist, and professor. He was one of Canada's best-known and most popular authors, and one of its most distinguished "men of letters", a term Davies is sometimes said to have detested. Davies was the founding Master of Massey College, a graduate college at the University of Toro ...more
More about Robertson Davies...

Other Books in the Series

The Salterton Trilogy (3 books)
  • Tempest-Tost (Salterton Trilogy, #1)
  • A Mixture of Frailties (Salterton Trilogy, #3)

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“But in every church there are people who, for reasons which seem sufficient to them, do not approve of their pastor and seek to harry him and bully him into some condition pleasing to themselves. The democracy which the Reformation brought into the Christian Church rages in their bosoms like a fire; they would deny that they regard their clergyman as their spiritual hired hand, whom they boss and oversee for his own good, but that is certainly the impression they give to observers.” 3 likes
“Life, as he conceived of it, was a long decline from a glorious past, and if a reader approaches a newspaper in that spirit, he can find much to confirm him in his belief, particularly if he has never examined any short period of the past in day-to-day detail.” 2 likes
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