John Coyne – The Legacy
Posted by demonik on July 25, 2007
John Coyne – The Legacy (Coronet, 1980: Originally Berkley, 1979)
A birthright of living death.
Six came to claim it.
Six beautiful people arrive for a weekend in the country. Six guests of the unseen host who lies wasting away upstairs.
Five heirs to a mysterious Legacy watch the body of the sixth float to the side of the pool.
Four claim the unspeakable power of the Legacy, while a red stain spreads across the ceiling.
Three realise the Legacy has come to claim them.
And then there are two.
I’ve not seen the movie but the reviews I’ve read suggest it’s a difficult to follow mess. The novel is “adapted from Jimmy Sangster’s screenplay” and Coyne has certainly made a decent stab of it ….
Ravenshurst, Kent. The centuries old Luciferian Jason Mountolive is approaching death. On the plus side, he’s finally located the present day incarnation of Margaret Walsingham, his soul mate, and the sixth person to share his mysterious ‘Legacy’. Maggie lures designer Maggie Walsh to England from the States under the pretence of a contract, then instigates a minor motor accident in which her boyfriend Pete Danner’s Triumph Bonnerville is busted up. Insisting that the crash was his chauffeur’s fault, Mountolive invites them to spend the night at Ravenshurst while Danner’s bike is fixed.
They are soon joined by five obscenely wealthy guests from across the globe: Clive Jackson, a big noise in the music biz with a thing for underage groupies: Karl Leibknecht, ex-Nazi, arms dealer and torturer: Barbara Kristenberg, fashion house designer; Maria Gabrielli, streetwalker made good; and Jacques Grandier, ruthless tycoon. Why do they all seem to think that Maggie’s there for any other reason than the bike having been pranged? How come Jason was the picture of health when Maggie first set eyes on him but is reduced to a shriveled, clawed thing in an oxygen tent within hours? And why was he so insistent on forcing that strangely inscribed ring onto her finger?
One way or another, everybody at Ravenshurst owes their fortune to Mountolive. Each of them is a Luciferian. And, very soon, it is apparent that one of them is intent on getting their hands on the Legacy at the expense of the others. After the first couple of murders, Danner steals a Rolls and attempts to escape with Maggie, but all roads lead back to the estate so they’re forced to spectate more deaths by drowning, burning, choking on a chicken-bone, etc. Then there are the super-sinister staff to contend with – could one of them be behind the murders?
The movie starred Katharine Ross, Sam Elliott and Roger Daltrey. Perhaps ominously, there was a theme song, Another Side Of Me by Kiki Dee …