Tag Archives: fiction

Murder Up the Glen: A West Highland Story (1933) by Colin Campbell

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Colin Campbell is one of those writers about whom frustratingly little is known. “Colin Campbell” was the pseudonym of Douglas Christie (1894-1935), the author of several novels under his real name and under the assumed one. At least three of the novels written as “Colin Campbell” feature the occult detective, Larry Neal. The first, Out of the Wild Hills (1932) is very definitely supernatural, while the third, Murder on the Moors (1934) is a standard whodunnit. The second, Murder Up the Glen (1933), is an altogether more ambiguous affair.

Lorin Weir, visiting a friend in a remote part of the Scottish Highlands, is startled to witness a brutal murder, apparently committed by the local ghost known as the Black Walker. No solution, either supernatural or otherwise is given to the murder – and even though it is strongly hinted that the affair has a supernatural solution, no explicit details are given as to what exactly this might be. Neal simply insists that the narrator (and the reader) have been given all the information required to solve the case. The publisher’s blurb in the first edition promotes the novel as having a solution that will satisfy “connoisseurs” of the mystery genre – but frankly, I can’t help feel the inconclusive ending makes this unlikely.

As a supernatural or Gothic mystery, however, the novel is far more satisfying and its atmospheric evocation of a haunted highland landscape of ancient burial mounds, populated by superstitious locals who wouldn’t venture out on Beltane for any price, makes it very much worth reviving for modern readers interested in early-twentieth-century supernatural fiction.

Murder Up the Glen [Kindle]

Murder Up the Glen [Epub]

Murder Up the Glen [PDF]

IMPORTANT NOTE: Unfortunately, this work is not in the public domain in the U.S.A. – in order to comply with United States copyright legislation, readers in that country should not download the ebook.

 

 

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Tales of Terror (1899) by Dick Donovan

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Dick Donovan was a pseudonym of James Edward Preston Muddock – though he was better known as Joyce Emerson Preston Muddock. A well-travelled journalist, he wrote prolifically in a number of genres. The vast majority of his output were sensational detective stories in which “Dick Donovan” was the main character. So popular did this Glaswegian detective prove that Muddock issued later works under this pseudonym. Other works include the horror novel, The Shadow Hunter (1887), the ‘lost world’ novel The Sunless City (1905) and two volumes of supernatural tales.

Muddock’s life was the equal of any of his own fictions. During his travels as a journalist, he visited several continents, experienced the Indian Rebellion first hand, met cannibals and mined gold in Australia. He also married three times and fathered ten children! These and more details of Muddock’s life and career can be found in this article by Bruce Durie.

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Tales of Terror (1899) was Muddock’s second collection of macabre stories, after Stories Weird and Wonderful (1889). Not all of the stories are supernatural. “‘Red Lillie'” is a sensational story about a lover’s promise; “With Fire and Death” is a gruesome (and very one-sided) account of the Indian Rebellion of 1857; while “The Pirate’s Treasure” is a pretty straightforward tale of piratical adventure. The majority of the stories do have a supernatural content, however, ranging from the vampire narrative “The Woman With the ‘Oily Eyes'”, to the traditional ghost stories of “The Corpse Light” and “The Spectre of Rislip Abbey”, the bloody Gothic horror of “The Cave of Blood”, and the folklore of “The Dance of the Dead”. Appropriately for the time of year, the collection also includes “The White Raven” – an effective ghost story set at Christmas.

Tales of Terror [Kindle]

Tales of Terror [Epub]

Tales of Terror [PDF]

Pharos the Egyptian (1899) by Guy Boothby

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Guy Boothby (1867-1905) was born in Australia but spent most of his career in England. A professional writer, his most famous work is the Dr Nikola series – a sequence of five novels about a criminal mastermind determined to take over the world with the help of the occult. Boothby was tremendously prolific. His writing career took up only the last decade of his tragically short life, but during this time he produced over fifty novels.

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Presented here is one of a handful of overtly supernatural novels written by Boothby. First published in 1899, it is typically late-Victorian in its concerns about contamination by a foreign other from the fringes of occidental Empire – in this case the eponymous Pharos, a grotesque Egyptian with a talent for mesmerism, who harbours an astonishing and deadly secret. Also included are three of Boothby’s best-known ghost stories, taken from his collection The Lady of the Island (1904).

Pharos the Egyptian [Kindle]

Pharos the Egyptian [Epub]

Pharos the Egyptian [PDF]

The text of Pharos the Egyptian is from Project Gutenberg. The text of the extra stories are from ebooks at Adelaide.