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Anon – Fifty Masterpieces Of Mystery

Posted by demonik on October 22, 2009

Anon – Fifty Masterpieces Of Mystery (Odhams, nd.  [1937])

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Crime Stories

Dorothy L. Sayers – The Learned Adventure Of The Dragon’s Head
Austin Freeman – The Magic Casket
H. C. Bailey – The President Of San Jacinto
Anthony Berkeley – Outside The Law
The Baroness Orczy – The Regent’s Park Murder
Margery Allingham – They Never Got Caught
J. J. Connington – Before Insulin
Stacy Aumonier – The Perfect Murder
G. K. Chesterton – The Shadow Of The Shark
O. Henry – The Marsonettes
F. Britten Austin – Diamond Cut Diamond
Augustus Muir – Murder At The Microphone
Milward Kennedy – Death In The Kitchen
Freeman Willis Croft – The Vertical Line
Edgar Wallace – The Clue Of Monday’s Settling
Gerard Fairlie – The Ghost Of A Smile
Bertram Atkey – Sons Of The Chief Warder

Strange And Horrible Stories

Seamark – Query
Ralph Straus – The Room On The Fourth Floor
A. E. W. Mason – The Wounded God
Lord Dunsany – The Electric King
A. J. Alan – Charles
John Metcalfe – The Funeral March Of A Marionette
W. W. Jacobs – The Interruption
C. D. Heriot – Nobody At Home
Agatha Christie – The Blood-Stained Pavement
Mrs. Belloc Lowdnes – St. Catherine’s Eve
F. Marion Crawford – The Screaming Skull
Joseph Conrad – The Idiots
Sydney Horler – The Vampire
Saki – The Interlopers
L. P. Hartley – The Travelling Grave
E. A. Poe – The Tell-Tale Heart
H. Spicer – The Bird Woman
W. Fryer Harvey – The Dabblers

Ghost Stories

Vernon Lee – Marsyas In Flanders
Eleanor Scott – The Room
Marjorie Bowen – Florence Flannery
Ernest Bramah – The Ghost At Massingham Mansions
Norman Matson – The House On Big Faraway
Naomi Royde-Smith – Madam Julia’s Tale
L. A. G. Strong – Sea Air
Ann Bridge – The Buick Saloon
May Sinclair – The Token
Oliver Onions – The Cigarette Case
Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch – A Pair Of Hands
H. R. Wakefield – Blind Man’s Buff
Algernon Blackwood – The Man Who Was Milligan
Richard Hughes – The Ghost
A. M. Burrage – The Room Over The Kitchen
J. S. LeFanu – Mr. Justice Harbottle
Anonymous – The Dead Man Of Varley Grange

Includes:

Eleanor Scott – The Room: “I’m not going to try and tell you what it was … I’d as soon try to describe the most loathsome surgical operation or the most indecent physical illness. And if I wanted to, I couldn’t. Thank Heaven, we haven’t made the word for what I saw.”

A room in Massingham’s house has the reputation of being haunted, so when five of his friends answer his invitation to stay with him, naturally they decide to each take a turn at spending a night in the creepy chamber and “do down the spook!” By the time Amery the Parson gets to take his turn, it’s clear from the state of Grindley and Vernon that whatever is in there is far more powerful and evil than a mere ghost. By the following morning, the Parson is a broken man, but Reece, the ‘simple’ little curate, is insistent that he’s not going to be denied the experience. Although we’re never told outright what each man endured in the room – the closest we get is with Amery who is confronted by the past crimes of his Church – it hardly makes the goings-on any less unsettling. Not quite as striking as Randall’s classic Celui-La but very deserving of your attention i’d have said. “There must be an amazing amount of goodness somewhere when here is such a quantity of unspeakable evil in men like us, who thought ourselves decent fellows enough.”

John Metcalfe – The Funeral March Of A Marionette: On a snowy, bitterly cold November 4th, budding entrepreneur Alf and little George drag a trolley along the Millbank, collecting a small fortune in coppers from admires of their uncannily lifelike Guy. Unfortunately, old Gus the tramp isn’t equip to handle the sub-zero temperatures ….

A. M. Burrage – The Room Over The Kitchen: A weary rambler arrives in Penhiddoc, his one thought to get a room at the inn for the night. In the doorway, he’s accosted by a fellow who he takes to be the local harmless lunatic who implores him not to take the room over the kitchen. It transpires that twenty years ago, four Oxford students stayed at the inn. For a chuckle, a trio of these fellows, in cahoots with the landlord, convinced the nervous young Mr. Farney that his room was haunted. They pushed the joke too far ….

C. D. Heriot – Nobody At Home: Frank and Maurice have drifted out of each others lives since Oxford, and now the former, learning his old pal has fallen on hard times, is keen to put the friendship back on course. Maurice has tried to make a go of it as a poet, but as soon as he arrives at the decrepit old schoolhouse that serves as his home, Frank realises it’s gone very badly for him. At first, Frank is angry that he may have made a wasted journey as no-one replies to his knocks at the door. But when he takes a look through the letterbox ….

Henry Spicer – The Bird Woman: A young lady answers an advertisement for a position as carer to “an invalid, infirm or lunatic person” at a dingy-looking house which has the reputation of being haunted. “Having little fear of anything human and none at all of apparitions” she’s confident that she’ll be able to cope with her charge – until she actually claps eyes on the owl-like travesty she’s expected to look after.

Sydney Horler – The Vampire: Two Roman Catholic priests discuss the case of a man of whom everyone seemed to have an “instinctive horror”. When a terrible murder is committed, leaving the victim minus most of her throat, the shunned individual confesses to Father ——, who, of course, he is powerless to pass on the information to the police. Sometimes published as The Believer

Richard Hughes – The Ghost: Told from the perspective of Millie, who’s just had her head bashed in by cheating husband Johnny. Having spent her life terrified of ghosts, now she’s evidently one herself Millie intends to haunt the murderer, especially as he doesn’t seem the least perturbed about what he’s done.

H. R. Wakefield – Blind Man’s Buff: Aylesbury, Herts. Mr. Cort learns why none of the locals will approach Lorn Manor after nightfall. In pitch darkness, He loses himself within a few feet of the front door and is pursued about the old house by unseen entities.

W. W. Jacobs – The Interruption: With his wife dead at last Spencer Goddard can get his hands on all of her lovely money! How happy he is! For all of twenty seconds. Hannah, his cook, wastes no time in letting on that she knows more about her late mistress’s “illness” – and his part in it – than he’d prefer and neither is she slow in turning the situation to her advantage. Should she die suddenly – like poor Mrs. Goddard for example – she’s left a letter with her sister , the contents of which he should regret being made known to the police. Now he must think of a way to save his neck and see hers stretched he opts for a high risk solution …

Anonymous – 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!

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