Curfew and Other Eerie Tales by Lucy M Boston. Book review

CURFEW AND OTHER EERIE TALES by Lucy M Boston. The Swan River Press £25

Reviewed by Mario Guslandi

Mostly remembered as the author of a series of children’s novels set in a haunted manor (Green Knowe), Lucy M Boston (1892-1990) also penned a bunch of supernatural tales which are now assembled and published by Brian J Showers’ Swan River Press.

Boston’s tales are written in a solid, classical narrative style, in the tradition of the great ghost story writers. A typical example is the title story, “Curfew”, a gripping ghostly tale set in a farmhouse on the outlying land of an old manor. In “Blind’s Man Bluff” Boston draws with a steady hand the portrait of a haunted man who must pay his dues to a vengeful enemy. In the vivid, enticing “The Italian Desk” she depicts the evil effects of a haunted desk on people’s sanity of mind. “Many Coloured Glass” is a disturbing story taking place during a ball, featuring an emotionally troubled young lady. “Pollution” is a great tale of terror, tense and atmospheric, where a tutor in a secluded country house recalls frightening events concerning a bleak water tower and mysterious, unearthly insects.

The best story in the volume is, in my opinion, “The Tiger Skin Rug”, an excellent, terrifying tale of supernatural dread set in a previously quiet country house after a peculiar rug has been bought and installed therein. The collection also includes “The Horned Man”, the only play ever written by Boston. Aimed to expose the bigotry and the ignorance behind any witch hunt, the work has a distinctly sinister undercurrent, disclosing how evil itself can be the fuel of human intolerance and falsity.

In short, a charming book unearthing forgotten gems and apt to delight any ghost story lover.