The Gap in the Curtain, Paperback Book
3 out of 5 (1 rating)


What begins as a straightforward holiday weekend for Sir Edward Leithen in a splendid stately home in the Cotswolds soon turns into something altogether different when one of Lady Flambard's other guests, the enigmatic Professor Moe, enlists the help of Leithen and his companions in a bizarre experiment to glimpse the future.

For those who take part, the consequences are dramatic and Leithen's formidable powers of reasoning are brought to the fore.


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Not one of Buchan's better offerings. The basic scenario was very interesting: Sir Edward Leithen is feeling jaded as a consequence of a long and frantic Parliamentary term running alongside a particularly onerous pell at the Bar. To relax he joins a houseparty in the country where he meets some intriguing fellow guests and the leading Scandinavian scientist (and recent Nobel Laureate) Professor Moe. Intrigued by Moe's sheer presenceand charisma Leithen reluctantly agrees to aprticipate in an experiment in which Moe hopes to demonstrate how, under certain circumstances, some people might be able accurately to foresee parts of the future. The experiment requires Leithen and various other house guests to study each day's copy of The Times in great detail and to focus particularly on one aspect of it (in Leithen's case the Law Reports). Professor Moe is convinced that if the participants focus sufficiently strongly then, with the aid of a special drug that he has devised, they will be able to catch a glimpse of the corresponding entry in the newspaper a year in the future.Alarmingly, two of Leithen's fellow guinea pigs imagine reading their own obituaries in that future edition of the paper. They and Leithen are then left to wonder whether they might be able to change that apparent destiny.Buchan's prose is as clear and stylish as ever but I felt that this novel never quite took off. The nod towards science fiction takes Buchan into an area with which he is not comfortable, and the story fails to develop his customary level of cohesion.