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In Ghostly Company (Mystery & Supernatural) (Tales of Mystery & the Supernatural) Paperback – July 15, 2010

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Product Details

  • Series: Tales of Mystery & the Supernatural
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Wordsworth Editions Ltd.; Reprint. edition (July 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840226439
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840226430
  • Product Dimensions: 0.4 x 4.8 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,380,650 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Tsuyoshi TOP 1000 REVIEWER on August 25, 2010
Format: Paperback
[The following review refers to "In Ghostly Company," a volume from the "Tales of Mystery & the Supernatural" series published by Wordsworth Editions Ltd.]

"In Ghostly Company" (originally published in 1921) is a collection of thirteen short stories written by Amyas Northcote. Little is known about the author, and according to David Stuart Davies, editor of the Wordsworth edition, this slim volume is the only published stories of the author. In the book's introduction David Stuart Davies provides an overview of what little is known about the writer in his six-page introduction.

The book contains the following stories: "Brickett Bottom," "Mr Kershaw and Mr Wilcox," "In the Woods," "The Late Earl of D.," "Mr Mortimer's Diary," "The House in the Wood," "The Steps," "The Young Lady in Black," "The Downs," "The Late Mrs Fowke," "The Picture," "The Governess's Story," and "Mr Oliver Carmichael."

The plot of the story itself is simple, and sometimes nearly non-existent. The plot moves very fast, and the story is told in a matter-of-fact narrative style, but as the story unfolds, readers will sense the macabre and sinister existence hidden under the deceptively simple descriptions of everyday life. I'd rather not delve into the details of each story all cleverly told. All I can say is some episodes here remind us of M. R. James because of their atmospheres.

Probably the best story of the volume is "Brickett Bottom," in which an uncanny thing happens to two daughters of a family staying at a peaceful village for a holiday. "Mr Oliver Carmichael" is another standout, more a psychological story than a ghost one, about an ordinary man who encounters an unnerving presence in a surprisingly mundane place.

You will notice some of plot devices are familiar especially when you are an avid reader of Victorian/Edwardian ghost stories, and there are some weak entries with slightly disappointing ending, but all in all this is an enjoyable read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By RIJU GANGULY on April 23, 2011
Format: Paperback
Usually when I, as a lover of short stories, buy a new book (mind it, not borrow it), I follow certain principles, which are: -
1. The author should be known to me, either through his works that I have read, or whose works have been reviewed at prominent places by persons who are qualified to do so.
2. The stories should have some redeeming component that would compel me to go back to them again & again.

Unfortunately, similar to many other decisions that I make in my life, decisions regarding purchase of books often go astray as well, and I end up spending hard-earned money on stuff that I would either not be able to read even once from cover-to-cover, or (which is more often the case) which, once read, cannot be enjoyed again at well, now that the box of tricks has got opened and the author had not put anything in the stories that might compel me to go back to them. However, on some rarest-of-rare occasions, I get to read some stories written by authors whose works I have never encountered anywhere, and yet I instantly fall in love with them. Love, unlike fascination or thrill, is a much more precious commodity, which we encounter in our lives very-very rarely. And loving some short stories mean that they have certain qualities that make them worthy of love: a gentle homely tone, unpretentious way of telling whatever they have to tell, and yet be extremely effective in conveying their thoughts, gentle touch of humour, a tragic sense of loss & poignancy when needed, and a beauty that has to be felt, rather than be seen. When this love occurs while reading ghost stories written by an amateur who has died long ago and who has not produced any other stories apart from those included in this slim volume, my heart gets broken.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By E. A. Lovitt HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on November 11, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The thirteen supernatural stories in this book were written by someone who obviously didn't have to earn his living as an author. I found them rather effete, i.e. "having lost character, vitality, or strength," and "marked by weakness or decadence." (courtesy of "Merriam -Webster"). The author takes what might be an interesting supernatural encounter, and wanders off into a sort-of watered-down spiritual ending. He pulls his punches by avoiding first-person narrative and avoiding any kind of physical damage to his narrators. In several instances stories are developed from diary entries where the reader already knows the fate of the diarist.

"Brickett Bottom"--A young woman goes visiting at a house that her sister can't see.

"Mr Kershaw and Mr Wilcox"--Two businessman have a falling-out over a debt that one owes the other. The debtor, who will be ruined by his erstwhile friend, decides to murder him.

"In the Woods"--Another variation on "The Great God Pan" by Arthur Machen. This one has a happy ending.

"The Late Earl of D."--A solicitor learns through supernatural means that the Earl of D. murdered his predecessor.

"Mr. Mortimer's Diary"--An "antiquary of no little reputation in his day" steals the discovery of another man, and is subsequently haunted by the ghost of his victim.

"The House in the Wood"--This is the most energetic, best-constructed story in the book, perhaps because it takes place in the northern reaches of Minnesota. The background detail is quite interesting, and the characters, for once, come across as real people.

"The Steps"--a beautiful young woman is haunted by the ghost of a soldier whose marriage proposal she had turned down.
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