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Hugh Lamb – Victorian Tales of Terror

Posted by demonik on September 1, 2007

Hugh Lamb (ed.) – Victorian Tales of Terror (W.H. Allen, 1974, Coronet, 1976)

Introduction – Hugh Lamb

M. P. Shiel – Xelucha
Charles Dickens – The Black Veil
Elizabeth Braddon – The Mystery At Fernwood
Guy Boothby – The Black Lady Of Brin-Tor
Guy De Maupassant – The Mother Of Monsters
Erckmann-Chatrian – The Murderer’s Violin
Richard Marsh – The Mask
Anon – The Dead Man Of Varley Grange
Ambrose Bierce – My Favourite Murder
Mrs. Molesworth – The Shadow In The Moonlight
Mrs. J. H. Riddell – The Last Of Squire Ennismore
J. A. Barry – The Red Warder Of The Reef
Grant Allen – Wolverden Tower
J. S. Le Fanu – Madam Crowl’s Ghost
Dick Donovan – The Cave Of Blood

Richard Marsh – The Mask:Mary Brooker is a Broadmoor escapee with a genius for disguise. But what has this to do with the man suspected of drugging and robbing passenger Mr. Fountain, or the beautiful fellow traveller Mrs. Vaynes and her wizened mother? Fountain, doped and helpless, learns all when Mrs. Vaynes demonstrates the secret of the masks and finds himself glaring into the hideously mutilated visage of a maniacal human vampire.

J. A. Barry – The Red Warder Of The Reef: Australia. ‘Combo’ Carter, a 23 year old killer, make a daring escape from the condemned cell and heads off toward the harbour at Port Endeavour with the law in hot pursuit. Due to a number of catastrophic shipwrecks, the marine authority have finally invested in a huge metal buoy ‘The Red Warder’ and tomorrow it is due to be capped, sealed and launched. “What a top place to hide!” thinks Combo …

Anon – The Dead Man Of Varley Grange: Westernshire. When young Henderson takes over the Grange, he unwisely invites eight friends to spend the Christmas holiday with him. Prior to his arrival the property had remained vacant for years due to the dreadful family curse as it is reputed that, some centuries ago, Captain Varley murdered his sister after she fled the Convent and ran off with her lover. Now their phantoms stalk the Grange and if you’re unfortunate enough to see the dead nun’s face you die within the year!

Erckmann-Chatrian – The Murderer’s Violin: Young Karl is a technically accomplished musician but he can’t compose for toffee. His tutor’s advice is to lose weight, so he waddles off on a walking tour of Switzerland where he takes a room in a hovel with an old man and an idiot girl. The man bears an uncanny resemblance to the violinist Melchier, hung in chains for the murder of an innkeeper. That night as Karl lies abed, a skeleton treats him to a ghastly recital on the fiddle.

Ambrose Bierce – My Favourite Murder: Bierce invents the serial-killer, and this one certainly takes the greatest pride in his work! Begins with the chatty “Having murdered my mother under circumstances of singular atrocity, I was arrested and put upon my trial, which lasted seven years. In summing up, the judge of the Court of Acquittal remarked that it was one of the most ghastly crimes that he had ever been called upon to explain away.” This being Bierce, our friend leaves the court a free man “without a stain on my reputation”.

Guy de Maupassant – The Mother Of Monsters: A peasant farm-worker falls pregnant and, ashamed, constructs a corset of wood and rope to conceal the evidence. The child is born hideously deformed, earning her mother the nickname ‘the She-devil’. However, her misfortune turns to advantage when the owner of a travelling show offers to buy the monstrosity. She then becomes a one woman atrocity factory, pumping out a mutant offspring to order (in as much as it’s physically possible, of course) and setting herself up for life.

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