The Spirit of the Place and Other Strange Tales: The Complete Short Stories of Elizabeth Walter was published by Shadow Publishing in March 2017.
Information about The Spirit of the Place and Other Strange Tales: The Complete Short Stories of Elizabeth Walter:
The Spirit of the Place And Other Strange Tales: The Complete Short Stories of Elizabeth Walter. All of Elizabeth Walter's 31 short stories collected in one volume for the first time. Supernatural, eerie and uncanny tales from her collections Snowfall & Other Chilling Events (1965), The Sin Eater & Other Scientific Impossibilities (1967), Davy Jones's Tale & Other Supernatural Stories (1971), Come And Get Me & Other Uncanny Invitations (1973) and Dead Woman & Other Haunting Experiences (1975). Elizabeth Walter was a novelist, short story writer, translator and for thirty years from 1961 editor of The Collins Crime Club. She was a very private person, but the book's editor, Dave Brzeski has researched snippets of bibliographic information from her days with William Collins. In addition he discusses her writing and reviews the adaptations of her stories on television, in his informative introduction.
A REVIEW OF THE SPIRIT OF THE PLACE AND OTHER STRANGE TALES: THE COMPLETE SHORT STORIES OF ELIZABETH WALTER
The Spirit of the Place and Other Strange Tales: The Complete Short Stories of Elizabeth Walter is a landmark collection of strange tales, because it's a complete collection of Elizabeth Walter's supernatural and uncanny stories from her collections Snowfall & Other Chilling Events (1965), The Sin Eater & Other Scientific Impossibilities (1967), Davy Jones's Tale & Other Supernatural Stories (1971), Come And Get Me & Other Uncanny Invitations (1973) and Dead Woman & Other Haunting Experiences (1975). This is the first time that the author's stories have been gathered into a single volume.
Shadow Publishing has done a huge favour for all fans of horror fiction by publishing this collection, because it features many stories that will interest horror readers and those who love strange stories. Collections like this one don't come along very often, because not many publishers feel the desire to publish classic short stories in single volumes. There are a few massive and comprehensive collections by such authors as H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe, but finding similar kind of collections from other authors is unfortunately difficult, so this collection is more than a welcome sight.
Because I hadn't read many stories by the author prior to reading this collection, I was thrilled to read it and found myself devouring it as fast as I could. I was pleased with its contents, because the stories were compelling and satisfyingly strange. To be honest, I loved this collection very much, because it was the kind of fiction that greatly appeals to me and stimulates my imagination.
This short story collection contains the following stories:
Snowfall & Other Chilling Events:
- The New House
- The Tibetan Box
- The Island of Regrets
- The Drum
The Sin-Eater & Other Scientific Impossibilities:
- The Sin-Eater
- Dearest Clarissa
- A Scientific Impossibility
- A Question of Time
- The Spider
Davy Jones's Tale & Other Supernatural Stories:
- Davy Jones's Tale
- The Hare
- In The Mist
- The Lift
- The Street of the Jews
- Hushaby, Baby
Come And Get Me & Other Uncanny Invitations:
- Come And Get Me
- The Concrete Captain
- The Thing
- The Travelling Companion
- The Spirit of the Place
- Grandfather Clock
Dead Woman & Other Haunting Experiences:
- Dead Woman
- The Hollies and the Ivy
- A Monstrous Tale
- The Little House
- Dual Control
- Telling the Bees
- Christmas Night
I have nothing bad to say about any of these stories, because they've been written by an author who has her own voice and who knows how to thrill readers. As a big fan of strange tales, I was wholly captivated by them and their strange atmosphere. The subtle complexity of these stories intrigued me a lot.
What I like perhaps most about these stories is that you'll be rewarded with good endings when you read them. They're classic strange tales that deliver chills to those who are willing to immerse themselves into them.
I'd like to write something about all of these stories, because I loved them, but I'm going to restrain myself from doing so in fear of revealing too much information about them. I'll only mention a few things about selected stories that demonstrate the versatility of this collection.
The New House:
- A story about Eileen and John who wake up at night and hear the footsteps of an intruder in their house. When they investigate the house, they don't find anything, but hear a low, gurgling laugh made by a woman. A while later Eileen begins to feel that the house is getting to her and it isn't theirs anymore. Soon John finds out unsettling information about the place where their new house is located...
- The author has created an excellent story that is filled with slow burning menace and terror.
- This story is a fine example of a well written and atmospheric ghost story with an excellent ending.
- This is a story about Clive who is interested in churches and hears of the remote Penrhayader church. He becomes interested in the church and wants to see it. During his journey, he comes across a farmhouse and is greeted by an old man. The old man invites him into the house and asks him to see his son, Eddie. When Clive sees Eddie, he notices that Eddie is dead. The man and his wife insist that he drink a glass of wine and eat a little cake in the presence of the corpse. Soon he learns that he has participated in the old custom of sin-eating for the dead...
- I enjoyed reading about the old couple and how they felt about their son. The author's decriptions of them were excellent.
- I found this story excellent, because it was something different.
In The Mist:
- In this story, Mary knows that the mist is responsible for what happened to her and Ralph during their late holiday in the autumn... One day, when Mary and Ralph take a holiday and drive around in their car they find themselves in the middle of a sudden mist. When they come out of the second fog patch they see a young man on the road. They decide to offer him a lift. Mary and Ralph begin to talk with the man and find out that he's an RAF man. A bit later they find out that something was not quite right about their encounter with the young man...
- This story is a wonderful example of a good old-fashioned and well written weird tale.
- A story about Roswitha who takes a holiday alone in the Austrian alps. On her last morning she decides to try the chair-lift. She finds out that she suffers from vertigo, and she is also attacked by claustrophobia and has no means of escape. A bit later she gathers her wits and sees something coming down the downward cable. An invisible creature seems to be descending the cable...
- I liked the author's way of writing Roswitha's fears and feelings, because she creates a perfect vision of a person who is terrified of what's happening to her.
- This is an excellent and satisfyingly strange tale with a good ending.
Telling the Bees:
- In this story, a young girl called Diana Lockett has become friends with her family's gardener and beekeeper, Old Parry. Diana follows the old man around all through the summer. Old Parry tells Diana that he tells the bees the truth about the doings of the family so that they won't swarm elsewhere. He tells them about who has been born and also about the deaths in the family...
- I enjoyed this story a lot, because it was wonderfully different and atmospheric.
I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of all of the stories, because they're outstanding strange stories. The author's old-fashioned writing style impressed me, because she easily creates an unsettling and intriguing atmosphere. Her writing style is wonderfully addictive and effective, and she's good at keeping up a sense of mystery in her stories.
The characterisation works well, because the author easily creates believable characters. Her descriptions about the characters are fluent and effective. I enjoyed reading about the characters and their lives, because they were almost like real people.
I have a feeling that this collection will be of interest to many different kind of readers. You don't necessarily have to be a fan of horror fiction to like it, because many of the stories will interest those who enjoy strange stories. I'm sure that the author's fluent writing style and her sense of style will impress many readers.
The introduction by the editor Dave Brzeski is excellent and informative, because he tells many things about the Elizabeth Walter. Dave Brzeski has spent a lot of time digging up information about the author, because she was a very private person. I enjoyed reading the introduction, because it helped me establish a deeper appreciation for the author's stories.
The cover artwork by Edward Miller looks beautiful and atmospheric. It reflects the strangeness of the stories in an excellent way and induces a sense of eeriness in the reader.
If you call yourself a fan of literary strange fiction, weird fiction and horror fiction, The Spirit of the Place and Other Strange Tales: The Complete Short Stories of Elizabeth Walter should be at the top of your reading list. It's one of the most important collections of the year, because it gathers all of the author's short stories into a single volume. Please, don't let this wonderful collection pass you by, but read it as soon as possible.