Tuesday, 21 July 2015

The Lady Chillers: classic ghost and horror stories by women authors (15 complete stories by Victorian and Edwardian mistresses of the macabre) - A Review


When talking about ghost stories the writers whose names get bandied about a lot are often men. So it was nice to find an entire volume dedicated to the often overlooked lady ghost story writers of the Victorian and Edwardian eras.

I actually discovered during the course of reading this book that I had read a couple before as part of various anthologies. You know how it is though, you read a story think 'that was good' and then can’t for the life of you find it again to re-read it because you’ve no idea what it was called!

Anyway all the stories in this book are very worthy in their own right. Some were creepier than others; some not altogether satisfactory but that’s all subjective and I hope to get around to finding more stories by some of these ladies. So, here are my personal favourites:

1.The Open Door by Charlotte Riddell- Not so much a locked room mystery as an open door mystery! I really like this one; it’s got a touch of humour, suspicious deaths, missing wills, strange nocturnal visitors and a door that wont stay closed, despite the best efforts of many people.

2.The Shadow In The Corner by Mary Elizabeth Braddon – A good old fashioned haunted room story, complete with innocent young girl, cynical servants and sceptical master and family disgrace. Good and spooky this one.

3.The Old Nurse’s Story by Elizabeth Gaskell (of Cranford fame) – Guilt, immorality, shame, snow storms, a haunted organ and a ghostly child. Oh and it’s Christmas!

Of course these are just three of the 15 stories in the book, I enjoyed reading all of these stories, though you could probably skip the first couple of pages of the haunted organist or Hurly Burly by Rosa Mulholland. Personally I found the opening dragged a bit. I thought it detracted from an otherwise pretty spooky story.

Anyway I’d recommend a look at this book if ghost stories are your thing. I’m not sure that there is a physical version of this book but I’m sure if you haven’t got a Kindle you can find the stories in other anthologies.


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