THE TWELVE STRANGE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS By Syd Moore
Point Blank, s/b, £6.99
Reviewed by Matthew Johns
The Twelve Strange Days of Christmas is a lovely little book – pocket-sized with a nice skull and snowflake motif on the cover. Written by a former presenter of the Channel 4 book show Pulp, it is part of her Essex Witch Museum series.
While this is the first of Moore’s books that I’ve read, it stands alone very well – as it’s a collection of short stories (as the title suggests, there are twelve of them) I didn’t feel like I was missing any backstory. These are great little tales of spooky goings on – Spring-Heeled Jack makes a reappearance at the Museum’s Christmas party; the ageing curator of the museum regales us with a tale of when he met an Icelandic shaman; an old woman sees her friends and family reincarnated into the bodies of local cats; a visitor to a remote Cornish village finds herself beset by ghostly pirates and many more tales.
One of my favourites is “A Christmas Carole” – a modern retelling of Dickens’ classic, where a miserly pub landlady is visited by the ghost of a former colleague and is encouraged to change her ways.
This a great collection of easy-to-read, festively-themed tales of the peculiar and the bizarre – great for Christmas, or any time of the year.