Reviewed by Mario Guslandi
Mostly remembered as the author of a series of childrenâ€™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 Showersâ€™ Swan River Press.
Bostonâ€™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, â€œCurfewâ€, a gripping ghostlyÂ tale set in a farmhouse on the outlying land of an old manor. In â€œBlindâ€™s Man Bluffâ€ 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 â€œThe Italian Deskâ€ she depicts the evil effects of a haunted desk onÂ peopleâ€™s sanity of mind. â€œMany Coloured Glassâ€ is a disturbing story taking place during a ball, featuring an emotionally troubled young lady. â€œPollutionâ€ 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, â€œThe Tiger Skin Rugâ€, 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 â€œThe Horned Manâ€, 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.