The Sorcerer's House -- Women Who Make Trouble for You

Shell advises Bax that there are two kinds of women: women you make trouble for and women who make trouble for you. Bax makes trouble for Winkle but she seems extremely loyal and protective. Lupine is definitely trouble for Bax. What about Doris?

There are two vanishing passenger incidents involving Doris. One is pp. 132-133, and Bax definitely says this is Lupine. ("She was in here with you." "Yes. She was."). The other is Mary King on p. 200. Doris sees her vanish (or says she does).

The theory would be that Doris and Lupine are the same person, that she was once known as Mary King and split off her soul as part of the process of becoming a werewolf.

Breaking down the first appearance of Lupine:

  1. Walking with Doris down to the river, "a hand slipped into mine."
  2. Doris said "I think I'll turn around and go back" from some distance behind him. This is her sending her soul back away (so she can take Lupine form).
  3. Her physical body remains with Bax, and the car keys remain in her possession.
  4. Ghost-husband Ted appears, disapproving of this move. She dismisses him.
  5. Winkle shows up to protect Bax ("A fox barked") and Lupine races away in wolf form.
  6. Lupine talks to Bax by the water about heads, arms, etc. She gives Bax the car keys.
  7. The ghost passenger looking like Doris gets into the car with Bax. She cannot drive and doesn't eat. She has the odor of Lupine, or of carrion.
  8. They catch up with physical Lupine, who has run ahead and is now back in Doris form. The soul rejoins her, vanishing from the car.

Another interesting fact about Doris is that she was a home-economics major (p. 127). Such a major is very rare these days, but was more common in the past. This allows us to place her in Mary King's days.

Doris knew Martha Murrey and might easily have found out that Bax was dining at her home. She probably killed the neighbor Star Paxton (first victim of the Hound of Horror) at the time she did so that Bax would see the body. The night the werewolves attacked the car, only the driver section was attacked and not the passenger section. Probably Doris summoned them. She vanishes from the story at about the same time Lupine does (though letter 42 needs to come before letter 41) -- first a "Dear John," then an attempt to get back with him, and finally a failed attack on him.

This helps resolve the question of the identity of the "wonderful girl" in the challenge note on p. 261. Some have speculated it could be Doris or Lupine. Now it seems there is no reason it couldn't be both.


Bax mentions shaking hands with people multiple times throughout the novel. He makes a point of mentioning that real estate women as having a "firm, brief, vigorous" handshake. (Letter 2 pg. 16) He brings up his feelings on the subject again on page 20. "I have found that real-estate people are great handshakers, George. Excuse me if I have said that already." He mentions shaking his with Doris on multiple occasions, and in particular mentions this as a hearty handshake on the first occasion. (Letter 2 pg. 14) He says the same thing when he first meets Hardaway, another real estate person. (Letter 14 pg. 102) It is clear that Bax associates real estate people with handshakes. He makes a point of saying that he is happy that Lupine does not offer to shake hands on her first appearance. (Letter 18 pg. 131) This is odd - the average person wouldn't even consider shaking hands with a murderous werewolf, and thus wouldn't write about it. This suggests that Lupine is also associated with real estate, which further suggests that she might be Doris.

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