The House of the Four Winds
First edition cover
|Publisher||Hodder & Stoughton|
|Media type||Print (Hardback; Paperback)|
|Preceded by||Castle Gay|
The novel is set in the fictional Central European country of Evallonia in the early 1930s. It concerns the involvement of some Scottish visitors in the overthrow of a corrupt republic and the restoration of the monarchy. It is a sequel to Castle Gay, in which some Evallonians visited Scotland on a secret mission two years before the start of this novel.
At the beginning of the novel several characters formerly seen in Huntingtower and Castle Gay are about to go to Europe for the summer, for a number of different reasons: Mr McCunn going to a German Kurhaus for his health, Alison to join her parents in the Tirol, the Roylances to attend a dull conference in Geneva, Jaikie on a walking tour, Dougal on a mission for his newspaper.
Jaikie meets Randal Glynde who encourages him to visit Evallonia, which is on the verge of a revolution, and arranges for him to meet Prince Odalchini at his castle, "The House of the Four Winds". On the way he meets Ashie, a friend from Cambridge who is now a leader of the third element in the Evallonian political scene, Juventus, a cross between a youth group and a national revival movement. The Juventus people, like the Monarchists, want to overthrow the corrupt and unpopular government, but see young Prince John as a puppet of the conservatives, "the old gang". Jaikie eventually agrees to act as a secret liaison between the two groups.
Meanwhile Alison and the Roylances have rescued Prince John from Mastrovin. They bring him into Evallonia in disguise. Dickson McCunn, informed of the situation by Dougal and feeling obliged by his promise to Prince John to lend a hand, joins the Monarchists and proposes a shrewd scheme for inducing Juventus to back Prince John.
Mishaps and the machinations of Mastrovin lead to dangerous complications before the prince attains the throne.
- Dickson McCunn, a retired 63-year-old Glasgow grocer with a practical business head and a romantic heart
- John "Jaikie" Galt, adopted son of Dickson McCunn, a recent graduate of Cambridge University
- Alison Westwater, daughter of Lord Rhynns, Jaikie's beloved
- Dougal Crombie, old friend of Jaikie's, a reporter and manager of the influential Craw Press
- Sir Archibald "Archie" Roylance, a Member of Parliament
- Janet Roylance, his wife, a cousin of Alison's
- Randal Glynde, a cousin of Alison's, a mysterious adventurer who is also the proprietor of the Cirque Doré
- Prince John, the rightful king of Evallonia
- Prince Odalchini, a leader of the Monarchist party
- Count Casimir Muresco, a leader of the Monarchist party
- Count Paul "Ashie" Jovian, a leader of Juventus
- Countess Araminta Troyos, a leader of Juventus
- Professor Jagon, a former monarchist, now advisor to Countess Araminta
- Mastrovin, a communist connected with the republican government
The Cirque Doré
- Luigi, a gipsy fiddler
- Tatius, the circus manager
- Meleager, a clown
- Newsom, a temporary chauffeur
- Aurunculeia, an elephant
While essentially a romantic adventure, the novel alludes to certain trends in European life such as post-war nationalism and the focus on democracy. Juventus resembles the German Youth Movement, and Mastrovin represents communist gangsterism.