"Dealers are undertakers of a sort. When a man dies, the undertaker comes for the body, and the dealer comes for the rest. I deal in dead men's clocks, pipes and swords. Passing through my hands, they give off joy, loneliness, fear...I have known more evil in a set of false teeth than in any so-called haunted house in England."
So speaks Geoff Ashden, a regular guy trying to make an honest living as an antique dealer, but who has an uncanny knack for finding cursed objects and haunted places: a sinister Georgian clock carved with obscene and satanic designs, a hideous doll with deadly powers, a pair of old spectacles that let their wearer see a little too clearly, an ugly house with a terrifying secret, a church full of graffiti scrawled in decomposing human flesh. In this collection, award-winning children's author Robert Westall delivers a set of chilling tales for adults and proves himself, as Orrin Grey writes in the new introduction to this edition, "an obvious successor to that godfather of the English ghost story, M.R. James."
©1989 The Estate of Robert Westall (P)2016 Valancourt Books
"Creepy...develops a sense of palpable evil...well worth the time of readers who prefer slyly civilized British ghost stories." (Kirkus Reviews)
"Fiendishly clever, spine-tingling short fiction" (Publishers Weekly)
"Marvelous M. R. Jamesian-style ghost stories." (Michael Dirda, Washington Post)
Most probably in the top 3. I just loved these stories. I am not easily impressed - especially with modern, ghost/horror (so-called) short stories. Consequently, I can't remember when I was last compelled to write a positive review.
Very difficult to say. The stories do have a Victorian feel to them and, as a reader/listener of M.R. James, I would say they are somewhat of the same vein (e.g. The Haunted Doll's House). The stories are, however, very original.
No favourite - all enjoyable. I do have to say that although R.C. Bray does a fine job, I would have preferred a narrator with an English accent (his American accent is very softened but there are some parts of the narration that calls for more specific English pronunciations and/or regional accents).
Emotional? Not really - but then I am a bit of an ice-pack. These stories are better than emotional, they are interesting - intellectually and creatively speaking.
Commendable work by Robert Westall. I hope he brings out some more anthologies - about antiques and 'ghosties', or 'ghosties' and antiques - whatever your preference Mr Westall.
I wouldn't read the print version so I would say yes.
Some of the better quality selection of ghost or paranormal stories, but this one is unusual in that all the stories are connected to an antique dealer who forms the central character in the stories.
Liked Clocky Watson and the ending of the story featuring him.
Not sure, can't think of anything witty enough. Antique Dust should speak for itself.
Definitely worth a listen and the narrator was very good.
"Great Ghost stories"
Very well written book accentuated by RC Bray's prose
RC Bray is my absolutely favorite narrator. He spoke so eloquently in this book!
You need to check out RC Bray's other narrated titles. He does an amazing job with every book he does.
"Magnificent collection of ghost stories!"
Literary horror. If you enjoy MR James, Sheridan Le Fanu, HP Lovecraft you will enjoy these masterfully crafted stories.
Thinking the first story was a standard, formulaic story with the "bad guy get's his"!
Get it, I've read and/or listened to over a thousand horror/supernatural audiobooks. If you enjoy intelligent, well written horror without being drenched in gore, you won't be disappointed!
"Truly excellent Mr James inspired stories"
from an undeservedly poorly known British writer,.
Centred around the antique trade the author also incorporates his own experiences from WW2. A sign of any good book is just how sad finishing it makes you. Feeling pretty blue right now.
"There are some real gems in here."
I’ve always believed that old things are haunted but I never realized that the quiet little world of antique buying and selling was so cut-throat!
I listened to this collection of eerie stories on unabridged audio. They’re all stories about antique dealer Geoff Ashton, except for one or two that are stories told to him or are about a close relative. My copy was narrated by R.C. Bray whose voice is wizened and quite perfect for this book about old stuff.
The Devil and Clocky Watson
This first story introduces us to Geoff. He’s an honest dealer just trying to make a living but others, namely a shifty character named Clocky Watson, cheat the system. Geoff attempts to get back at Clocky in what he thinks is the most fitting of ways but things go awry. This tale, like all the stories that follow, is eerie and dripping with creepy atmosphere. 4.5 Stars
Geoff realizes that old dolls = $$ and buys a large collection of them from a boozy widow for a song but trouble soon follows. Creepy dolls will always be creepy and this story is no exception. There were two points here where frighteningly loud music was piped in and it nearly made me pee my pants and overrode the narration. Beware!
This one was probably my favorite. 5 Stars
The Last Day of Miss Dorinda Molyneaux
This story was about a creepy old church, desecrated graves, unnerving goings-on and Miss Dorinda Molyneaux.
This one simply wasn’t meant for me and it more than likely comes down to a matter of taste and my lack of it. The Dumbledore was a watering hole for men during war times. It's about secrets, war heroes and a young boy named Little Tex. 3 Stars
The Woolworth Spectacles
This one features Geoff’s cousin and was much more my speed. Shy Maude's always been told that "men don't make passes at girls who wear glasses". But then she finds a pair of spectacles at Woolworth's (that's an old department store for you youngin's) left behind by an old woman and puts them on her face.
And she can see the world in wondrous detail! Initially she’s pretty thrilled but then people start looking at her differently. Crude work-men leer at her and she is unsettled. Soon, though, she finds her power over men a little intoxicating and begins to use it even to her advantage even though she knows deep down that this is very unlike her. She revels in it anyway and it leads to disaster.
I liked this story quite a bit and found Maude’s personality change both organic and frightening. 5 Stars
Geoff is on vacation with his wife, who has meandered off to do things without him. Before long, he finds a beautiful and distraught woman who begs for help. Her son has gone missing and Geoff being the dirty, old, and let’s not forget MARRIED perv that he is, has lustful thoughts about her even though she’s frantic to find her son.
“My bowels moved with lust for her.”
Oh Geoff, you sexy beast, however did you convince a woman to marry you?
Despite his pervy thoughts, he’s not so bad a guy and decides to help her out. When the townsfolk and police brush him off Geoff starts to have ominous feelings about the situation.
Haunting and, like all the rest, beautifully atmospheric. 4 Stars
The Ugly House
I listened to this one twice because when I sat down to write this up, I couldn’t remember a thing about it and figured I had sleep-walked through it. Now after the 2nd listen and writing all of the above, I still can’t remember much about it besides the fact that there was a building inspector and an ugly house that Would Not Be Demolished and damned if I can remember anything else about it.
Guess it wasn’t meant for me. 3 Stars
I’d easily recommend this collection to anyone looking for slower paced, old-style horror that crawls under your skin and creeps you out.
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