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Ebook The Fourth Ghost Book by James Turner read! Book Title: The Fourth Ghost Book
The author of the book: James Turner
Edition: Pan Books Ltd.
Date of issue: 1968
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
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Loaded: 1476 times
Reader ratings: 6.8
Language: English
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 987 KB

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An interesting mix of traditional stories and stories that reflect the changing times (the early 1960s) and attitudes to the supernatural. It's also interesting how much the second world war looms over this collection of stories. I wonder if a collection of ghost stories by British authors published in the next decade will have a similar amount of nods to the Afghanistan conflict.

Story by story, here goes:

Robert Aickman 'Just a song at twilight': Easily my favourite story in this collection. A troubled couple move to a foreign island for a new beginning. In that sense the broad outline of the story is predictable; but the subtle, insidious way in which Aickman introduced the supernatural element into this story makes it a very, very fine evocation of true weirdness.

Rosemary Timperley 'The private torture chamber': A heavy sense of disorientation pervades this story of a TB patient, the voices in her head and the nurse who helps her combat them. This story has its moments, but feels a bit amateurish in execution.

Ronald Blythe 'A bit simple': The horror here is not in the supernatural element at all; in fact the ghostly visitation in this story is redemptive. A vivid and very effective little story.

Denys Val Baker 'The face in the mirror': A gripping tale of sudden terror that builds to a somewhat disappointing Twilight Tales-like twist ending, but has some wonderful mood-writing along the way, the mood being one of primal terror.

Peter Ford 'The Home Stretch': The railway seems to be another favoured vector for the supernatural in British ghost stories, and this story is a decent enough addition to the tradition. Most memorable for its glimpse at a life defined by utter isolation.

DG Compton 'Sarah': This sort of thing - a house dominated by a dead inhabitant, a son controlled by a dominating mother's shade - has been done before. And better.

Ronald Duncan 'Consanguinity': Another story that begins on a train and has the second world war as a backdrop. Not sure how well this works - all the hints at incest never seem fully borne out and without them it's a rather stock ghost story.

Evelyn Fabyan 'The Lorraine Cross': Another one with the second world war as a more distant backdrop. A very traditional, predictable ghost story redeemed by delightful characterisation.

Kate Barlay 'The Expert': No alarms and no surprises here, but a quite charming little ghost story nonetheless.

Charles Causley 'A local haunting': Quite a chilling poem about a succubus and her lover.

Alain Danielou 'A game of dice': Set in India, this story follows my namesake, Jay Prakash, in a predictable but again quite nicely told and enjoyable narrative.

Fielden Hughes 'Dear ghost': Another ghost of the second world war in a story that suggests that not all hauntings are unwelcome. Effective.

Edward Hyams 'Exorcising Baldassare': Anyone who reads a lot of ghost stories must be aware of the commercial value of a good haunting. In this slight but charming story, that insight is shared by a number of unscrupulous property dealers.

Christine Brooke-Rose 'On Terms': A very unsettling and disturbing tale of haunting from the other side. Works up to a most macabre climax; one of the best stories here.

Paul Tabori 'Fear': A great counterpoint to Brooke-Rose's tale of a betrayed lover, this story is both a charming domestic interlude and a chilling glimpse into utter desolation and terror.

John Pudney 'Ivory Joe': A picturesque, traditional ghost story. Nothing new here, but filled with charming details and a hint of genuine pathos.

Anthony Rye 'Hapladies': The outlines of a chilling tale inhere, but the treatment is less than successful.

William Sansom 'A Saving Grace': The prose style was a bit too dense and heavy, I might need to revisit this.

Jean Stubbs 'The unquiet spirit': Nothing very new here, but woven around a vivid and engaging character-sketch of a young girl on the verge of adolescence.

RW THompson 'The house by the water': A chilling enough tale which could easily have been developed into a novel; I felt it suffered from the lack of more backstory and build-up.

James Turner 'The Guardian': Quite a chilling story of ancestral terrors adhering to an old home, perhaps an apt choice of subject for a former inhabitant of Borley Rectory.

Fred Urquhart 'Water Water Wallflower': Despite some colourful Scots dialect, transported to France, this story failed to do anything for me. Just one too many standard ghost story in this collection, I suppose.

Rosalind Wade 'Averil and Endercombe': Despite being a throwback to late Victorian 'spiritualism' influenced fiction, this story was sufficiently well constructed and eerie to hold my interest.

Ultimately, the best stories here are the Aickman and the Brooke-Rose. I might want to re-read some of the others now and then, but these two stand out.


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