Monday, 12 December 2016

The Haunted Library and Lost in a Pyramid

The British Library publishes a wide range of books. Naturally, my focus is on the Classic Crime series, but I've also enjoyed a number of their other publications in recent times. And just in time for Christmas, they've published two short story collections which are very much in keeping with the tradition of spooky stories for a dark winter's night.

The Haunted Library (great title!) is a volume of stories selected by Tanya Kirk. She was responsible for the BL's excellent Gothic Imagination exhibition last year- which I really enjoyed. Now she's put together a book of classic ghost stories by a range of authors, several of whom I'm not familiar with. The obvious exception is M.R. James, and "The Tractate Middoth" was televised a couple of years back. A notable story, ideal for this particular book.

Other notable contributors include Edith Wharton, Algernon Blackwood and Elizabeth Bowen. But I'd never heard of A.N.L. Munsby or one or two of the others. Mixing familiar writers with those who are long neglected is a good recipe for an anthology of this kind. A similar approach has been adopted by Andrew Smith, who is responsible for Lost in a Pyramid and other classic Mummy stories..

Andrew Smith's intro talks very interestingly about his subject, and it directed me to a book by Roger Luckhurst about "mummy curse" fiction, which I've just bought. "Lot no. 249" by Arthur Conan Doyle is the only story I've read before, but a varied range of contributors, including Louisa May Alcott, Grant Allen, and Sax Rohmer ensure that there's plenty of entertainment for mummy fans everywhere!.


Mike Morris said...

I was going to say that A.N.L. Munby's ghost story collection The Alabaster Hand is well worth seeking out and not too hard to find... but then I looked at the prices on abebooks and came to the conclusion that it must be harder to find than I thought! E.G. Swain's collection Bone to my Bone was published in paperback by Equation in 1989 and is also a good read.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mike

Just to say The Alabaster Hand was reprinted in a lovely hardback edition a couple of years ago by The Sundial Press and I belive is still available direct from the publishers. This is how I got my copy recently and you're right - it's a terrific collection!