Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

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Len Mullenger:

CLASSIC CHILLING TALES Volume 3: J.S. Le Fanu: An Account of Some Strange Disturbances in Aungier Street. Ambrose Bierce: That Damned Thing, The Moonlit Road. F. Marion Crawford: The Upper Berth. B.M. Croker: 'To Let'.    Read by Jonathan Keeble/Clare Anderson. Naxos Audiobooks NA216412 156m DDD
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If you want to suffer a sleepless night, then I would advise you to put on 'The Upper Berth' just before bedtime! This chillingly marine ghost story is one of the best I've ever heard and if it is a taste too sensational to be believed, it certainly scared the living daylights out of me. Keeble's dry narrative is intensely involving and he explores the story with an impecunious sense of wit and unimaginable horror. The chilling music chosen to accompany the story only serves to increase the tension and fear of the happenings in Room 105. A classic, of horror that is!

Le Fanu's 'Aungier Street' is similarly horrifying with long lost evil ghosts inhabiting a mansion and scaring the author out of his wits with appearances at the bedpost! This is the longest story of the five included here although the brief ending contains all the interest. My particular favorite is B.M. Croker's nostalgically Imperial 'To Let', a forlorn fascination of English ghosts in the romantic hills of the glorious Indian Raj. I remember reading some similar ghost stories some years back and this sinister volume brought about some charming remembrances.

The story of a haunted house is not new, but Clare Anderson's sensuously enounced narrative adds such romantic charm to the proceedings that I confess that I was spellbound by the story. Charming Indian music adds authenticity to the narrative. Once again, don't listen to it in the dead of the night or you will wake up in horror as you thought you heard a great fall from an idyllic verandah! Ambrose Bierce's pungent spiritualistic horror is not easily accessible but there can be no denying the classic class that permeates 'The Damned Thing' or 'The Moonlit Road'.

Still, I will always hear that parrot woefully enouncing: 'Lucy, Sweet Lucy, Where are You' as the house on the hilltop remains 'To Let' forever.


Gerald Fenech



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