Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Tales from a Gas-lit Graveyard, Edited by Hugh Lamb

Tales from a Gas-Lit Graveyard (Dover Mystery, Detective, & Other Fiction)Tales from a Gas-Lit Graveyard by Hugh Lamb

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am really thankful to anthologists like Hugh Lamb, who are so passionate and driven to unearth the works of authors who have largely been lost to modern readers; those whose works have fallen out of literary consciousness. In this anthology, he has given us seventeen stories that have rarely been anthologized, if at all. I must say that I enjoyed pretty much all of them.

My favorites in this collection:

The Haunted Station by Hume Nesbit

Nut Bush Farm by Mrs. JH Riddell

The Fever Queen by K & H Prichard

The Permanent Stiletto by W.C. Morrow

The Houseboat by Richard Marsh (my absolute favorite story here)

The Tyburn Ghost by The Countess of Munster

The Green Bottle by Bernard Capes

The only two stories I wasn't that fond of were The Mountain of Spirits and The Golden Bracelet. They were a bit too esoteric for my tastes.

I admit, when I read Victorian tales of terror, I like them to be a bit sensational, and sometimes, but not always, over-the-top. It's quite fun to read them. I am often quite surprised at how visceral the horror can be. I think that the Victorian storytellers were able to write stories that managed to have some pretty outrageous events, but without being vulgar about it. The writing is old-fashioned and quite appealing. Victorian language takes a roundabout approach to getting its point across. I've seen this as a good thing in some writings I've read, and in others, not so much. Generally, it was appealing in most of these stories. One thing I did wish is that the endings weren't quite so abrupt. That seems to be a common characteristic that I've noticed with Victorian tales of terror. This was a great collection to read in October, to get me in the mood for Halloween. Sadly, this anthology has only made me more passionate about reading these vintage horror stories. Fortunately, I have found a lot of really obscure gothic/classic horror free on Amazon Kindle. That's a good thing for my pocketbook.

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