Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Aylmer Vance: Ghost Seer

Alice & Claude Askew
Wordsworth Editions

Another in the fabulous Wordsworth Editions series of 'Tales of Mystery and the Supernatural', Aylmer Vance: Ghost Seer is a short collection of Edwardian ghost stories featuring the titular psychical investigator and his 'Watson' the clairvoyant barrister Dexter.

Over the 8 tales that make up the book Vance initially tells Dexter of a number of his encounters with the supernatural; a possession from the ancient past in 'The Invader', an encounter with an old god in 'The Stranger', a love story featuring a beautiful ghost exeriencing one last soiree in 'Lady Green-Sleeves' and a tale of heartbreak, love, poetry and fire that transcends death in 'The Fire Unquenchable'.  It's following this fouth story that Dexter becomes Vance's apprentice and takes a more active role in the proceedings.  Like the aforementioned Watson he is very much the junior partner and serves mostly as narrator but also as pupil as result of his psychic abuilities.

The second four stories explore hauntings and possession in the 'The Vampire', haunted houses in 'The Boy of Blackstock' and 'The Fear', and the enduring influence of past lives in 'The Indissoluble Band'.

It's a great shame that the eight stories here are all that the husband and wife authors completed as both Vance and Dexter are enjoyable company and the stories are entertainingly creepy.

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