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Carnacki, the Ghost Finder Paperback – December 6, 2007

4.1 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

During their original run, the magazine that published them boasted: “Complaints continue to reach us from all parts of the country to the effect that Mr. William Hope Hodgeson’s Carnacki stories are producing a widespread epidemic of Nervous Prostration! So far from being able to reassure or calm our nervous readers, we are compelled to warn them that ‘The Whistling Room,’ which we publish this month, is worse than ever. Our advertising manager had to go to bed for two days after reading the advance sheets; a proofreader has sent in his resignation; and, worst of all, our smartest office boy — But this is no place to bewail or seek for sympathy. Yet another of those stories will appear in April!” --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

William Hope Hodgson (1877-1918) was born in Essex but moved several times with his family, including a stint in County Galway in Ireland - a setting that would later inspire The House on the Borderland. After some initial rejections of his writing work, Hodgson managed to become a full time writer of both novels and short stories, which form a fantastic legacy of adventure, mystery and horror fiction.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 136 pages
  • Publisher: Book Jungle (December 6, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1604246588
  • ISBN-13: 978-1604246582
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,053,415 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on October 22, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I first read Wm. Hope Hodgson in the Ballantine fantasy reprint series edited by Lin Carter in the 1970's. Therein I discovered a brillant mind of the macabre for the first time, with his "House on the Borderland" and "The Night Land" a new master of the fantastic was given to me. I ended up back in those heady gothick days of ordering a British edition of "Carnacki, the Ghost Finder" and adoring every delicious page. Alternating between supernatural & rational explainations for the phenomena in tow, I was in ghost story heaven! A personal literary belief of mine, is that the ghost story is arguably the best expression of the elegance of the English language extant. Contained in "Carnacki" is the "The Whistling Room" my vote for the best ghost story of all time. An award I do not lightly give.
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Format: Paperback
I read this books first years ago, and only now remembered it is most deserving of a great review. The best description I can give of the stories of Carnacki the Ghost Finder is that he investigates stories with some great, classic gothic set-ups. He's something like a Sherlock Holmes of the supernatural, a concept I absolutely adore.
What's even better is that these stories were written by William Hope Hodgson (much admired by H. P. Lovecraft) in the early part of the 20th century (around 1910), so it still has that incredible Victorian feeling of horror, shrouded in antiquity and mystery, with a fantastic and classically spooky atmosphere. Basically, for gothic gaslight ambience, this is one of the most satisfying books you can read. Since it was actually written so long ago, it has none of the modern contrivances you find in books written today set back in that time.
There are a couple of different versions of Carnacki the Ghost Finder. One has only 5 stories, some have 6, and some have 9. I've read both the 6 story and 9 story version; obviously you should try and procure the 9 story version, which adds The Hog, The Haunted Jarvee, and The Find.
Of the stories, all of them are great reading, but my favorites are "The House Among the Laurels," one of the best haunted house short stories I've ever read, and the very Lovecraftian (though Hodgson pre-dates Lovecraft) "The Whistling Room." Other good stories include "The Gateway of the Monster" in which Carnacki bites off more than he can chew in a demonic encounter; "The Searcher of the End House," a frenetic search for the truth behind a ghost, and the unsettling "The Hog," and the nicely done atmospherics of "The Haunted Jarvee."
But the whole book is great. Check it out if you love that classic gothic atmosphere in your stories.
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Format: Paperback
So you like tales of the ghostly and supernatural, do you? Well, for the discerning and literate, true terror is much more potent than most contemporary "horror" on the discount shelves. You need to discover the collected stories of M.R. James (there's a really pricey edition out there, but there are also cheaper versions available) and Hodgson's Carnacki stories. I'll just echo the reviewer who thought "The Whistling Room" one of the best, if not the best, ghost stories of all time: One of the scariest reading moments I've ever had came at the climax of that story the first time I ever read it--and even now, years later, it can STILL produce actual physical shivers when read over again. (While I'm at it, if you like James and Hodgson, move on next to Arthur Machen and Algernon Blackwood. Blackwood's short stories have been collected in two relatively easy-to-find volumes.)
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I read Carnacki years ago as a child, and loved the first mixture of the supernatural and superscience. Carnacki's use of the Electric Pentagram and other devices feels like a Gothic Quatermass. I'm thrilled that they've been published again, and have fallen in love with them all over again as an adult.
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I found the book totally engrossing and chilling. What made it even more scary for me was the fact I've studied the paranormal and have had experience in it. Some of the stories in this book were closer to the truth than a lot of people realise. There's too much detail in some stories than what could be passed as fiction. The Whistling Room is one that tells more than a work of fiction should. Same for The Hog. This book is now among my favourites. Fantastic!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had never read the Carnacki stories until now. I was attracted by the "detective" theme: Carnacki investigates cases of the abnormal, some of which are discovered to be in fact of "ab-natural" (or "ab-human") origin, while others are hoaxes, sometimes both at once.

The short stories have two narrators. A friend of Carnacki named Dodgson (ie Hodgson) "frames" each tale with a brief, almost identical beginning and ending. The cases, narrated by the Ghost Finder himself to an intimate group of four friends, are stories within stories. The effect is to focus all the attention on Carnacki's own activities and, especially, his self-described emotions of fear and courage in the face of the "Creature, Monster, or Thing" of the "Outer World" that he's investigating. The central event in each story is Carnacki's vigil in the haunted location and the terrifying experience that he undergoes. This core event usually takes place in utter darkness. That leaves us with Carnacki's own description of what he hears, faintly sees, senses (and, at length, of the terror he feels) while waiting for the supposed ghost to manifest itself.

I did enjoy reading the stories, but in the end I felt cheated. Because Carnacki describes the events after the fact, we know he survives them. No suspense there. Worse, the characters of the victims who are terrorized by the phenomena are incidental, barely sketched out and thus elicit no empathy for their terror. As a result, the stories depend too heavily for their effect on Carnacki's account of his own feelings of terror. It's as if Hodgson tries to scare his reader by shouting "Be Afraid!" It didn't work for me.
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