Old Albert- An Epilogue by Brian J Showers; Passport Levant; 2011; 62 pgs; $55.00 US
In his Introduction to Brian J Showers’ “Old Albert” Jim Rockhill informs the readers that the present novella is a further addition to the author’s previous collection “The Bleeding Horse and Other Ghost Stories” – a book, that, sadly, I’ve missed – set in and about the Dublin neighborhood of Rathmines.
“Old Albert”, however, works just fine as a standalone, excellent fictional work , where Showers displays excellent qualities as an elegant, gifted storyteller. Here we have an intriguing, enticing series of odd, mysterious events revolving around the Rathmines mansion called Larkhill .
Throughout the decades, the property will change hands and purpose more than once, starting out as the retreat of a famous ornithologist, a sort of recluse who will leave the house quite precipitously for no apparent reason, to become later the residence of a wealthy, stern wine merchant and his beautiful, lively wife. A dark tragedy of jealousy and violence will put an end to the fable of the happy couple.
For a while the house will be the venue of The Sacred Order of the Mysteries of Thoth and finally will turn into a school run by friars, St Mary’s College. But whoever inhabits Larkhill has to come to terms with a sinister reality.
Showers leads us with a steady hand into the dark mysteries which have surrounded Larkhill House, providing shivers and disquiet galore by means of a gripping ,straightforward narrative style and a credible historical setup.
This delightful book is not for those seeking gore and graphic horror, but for all the readers who love good, subtly unnerving dark fiction . We are sick and tired of grandguignolesque horror stories told in a nervous, disjointed writing style. Try “Old Albert” and you’ll discover that , fortunately, well written, accomplished tales are still around.
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