Brief Candles

by Manning Coles
Release date: 1954
Type: speculative fiction
Genres: fantasy

Sally and Jeremy Latimer are pleased, if somewhat puzzled, when two gentlemen with decidedly old-world manners choose to befriend them when their car mysteriously breaks down in the small French village of St. Denissur-Aisne while on holiday one fine day in 1953.

What they don't know is that the two men, James and Charles Latimer, are ancestors of theirs. The two shuffled off this mortal coil some 80 years earlier when, emboldened by strong drink and with only a pet monkey and an aged waiter as allies, the two made a valiant, foolish and quite fatal attempt to halt a German advance during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870.

Now, these two ectoplasmic gentlemen and their spectral pet monkey Ulysses have been summoned from their final resting place in an unmarked grave because their visiting relatives are in serious trouble.

But before they can solve the younger Latimers' problems, the three benevolent spirits light brief candles of insanity for a tipsy policeman, a recalcitrant banker, a convocation of English ghost-busters, and a card-playing rogue who's wanted for murder.

(updated 2017-01-19)

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