Monday, June 15, 2020

Gothic Gem: "The Room in the Tower" by E.F. Benson

Ran across this over at Twitter (I'm still there, yes, but barely). It's a gothic short story by E.F. Benson that ticks all the boxes for me.
Quite inexplicably my heart sank at her words. I felt as if I had known that I should have the room in the tower, and that it contained something dreadful and significant. Jack instantly got up, and I understood that I had to follow him. In silence we passed through the hall, and mounted a great oak staircase with many corners, and arrived at a small landing with two doors set in it. He pushed one of these open for me to enter, and without coming in himself, closed it after me. Then I knew that my conjecture had been right: there was something awful in the room, and with the terror of nightmare growing swiftly and enveloping me, I awoke in a spasm of terror.
You can go here for the complete story, and it's well worth the time. I do wish I could get a copy of Benson's horror anthology called Spook Stories (at least the first volume), but the book isn't available anywhere other than Project Gutenberg (Canada), and I'd rather buy a copy that I can take with me. 

I was able to snag an e-book of his horror stories (some of his horror stories, anyway, which I'm not sure if they all appeared in the other anthology) called Night Terrors: The Ghost Stories of E.F. Benson (Tales of Mystery & The Supernatural). It contains this story plus a mixed bag of others, and a quick peek at the introduction of the book shows that Benson was a devotee of M.R. James. 

Better and better! Anyway, I'm obviously very predictable when it comes to my reading preferences. If not m/m romance (mysteries, historical fantasies, gothic romances, and an occasional straightforward contemporary romance), it's Victorian or Edwardian ghost fiction. And speaking of...

I used to be the proud owner of this book once upon a time, and now I can't find it anywhere among my few remaining paperbacks. I think it got donated with the rest of my print books after I made the switch to digital lit because of my eyesight (and budget). Looks like I'll have to get another copy, which is only in print as it's old and was never turned into an e-book. Bummer. 

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