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.

Jun 25, 2011

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