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Christopher Buehlman

A Haunted Inauguration in Andrew Pyper’s The Residence

A divided nation. An American president deals with the death of his 11-year-old child. The First Lady seeks solace in séances and mediums. The year is not 1862, and the president is not Abraham Lincoln. Rather, The Residence tells the story of the eclipsed and tragic figure of Franklin Pierce, a caretaker president whose attempts to find a compromise to the slavery issue only drove his young nation closer to fratricide. It is equally the story of his haunted, occultist wife, a woman who wears the hair of two dead sons in a locket.

There is tragedy enough to mine in this story without invoking the supernatural, but Andrew Pyper, author of 2013’s excellent The Demonologist, is never a man to resist a whiff of brimstone.

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