Books: Obsession In Brittany

MADMAN'S MEMORY (213 pp.)—Roger Vercel—Translated by Warre Bradley Wells—Random House ($2.50).

U.S. readers know French Novelist Roger Vercel for his Tides of Mont St.-Michel, a fictional Cook's Tour of the famed medieval island abbey off Brittany. Less ambitious but just as colorful is the latest Vercel novel published in the U.S.—the story of a rich, gone-to-seed Breton family who live at Plangomeur, a mansion not far from Mont St.-Michel.

Plangomeur was built by a buccaneer named La Hourie. Of all the pirate's heirs, only two women are left: fat, half-mad old Lucie La Hourie and her daughter-in-law Françoise.

Lucie's husband ("descended from the...

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