After reading two of Rolt's stories ("Bosworth Summit Pound" and "Hawley Bank Foundry") wanted to read more. He seems to have specialized in creating half-seen or hinted-at monsters lurking just off the center of one's vision, infinitely huge and hideous, and implacably malevolent. The narrator is either overwhelmed by the evil creature, or barely escapes, bearing life-long scars and endless nightmares from the horrible experience. In "Hawley Bank Foundry" its utterly prosaic setting--an iron-casting shop during World War II--simply adds to the horror of the denouement.
Two of the other tales especially struck my attention: "The Shouting" and "A Visitor at Ashcombe". In the first, the narrator recalls the hideous scene of gypsy (?) children engaging in some kind of Satanic rite, as he mumbles to himself "My mother said you never should/ Play with the gypsies in the wood". In the second, one may only surmise that the ghost of a supposed witch took her vengeance upon the luckless owner of the Ashcombe Manor. A great deal of the narration describes the haunting, but tantalizingly gives few hints for the source of the monstrosity. It might have been more effective if the stories had been arranged with "Bosworth Summit Pound" as the first, for it's probably the most chilling. At any rate, they are all most satisfyingly gruesome, and should the reader adopt the editor's suggestion of perusing this little book on a rainy night with a rising wind, by the light of a candle or blazing fire, by no means should he fail to lock the door and resolutely ignore the faint scratchings and snufflings just outside.
- Paperback: 144 pages
- Publisher: The History Press; UK ed. edition (14 January 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 075245577X
- ISBN-13: 978-0752455778
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 0.8 x 20 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 141 g
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