ELEMENT OF DOUBT: Ghost Stories
Valancourt Books, 2023
Reviewed by Mario Guslandi
Audrey Lilian Barker ( 1918-2002) was a prolific author of novels and short story collections, now largely forgotten. The present volume reprints her collection Element of Doubt, originally published in 1992 and, rather surprisingly, subtitled “ Ghost Stories.”
The collection includes a novella and twelve short stories, most of which have actually very little, if anything, to do with ghosts.
The novella “Romney” is really an outstanding piece of insightful fiction, probing the secrets surrounding the death of a young man and investigating the role of his younger brother. It is graced by an excellent, gripping storytelling and by a fascinating, perceptive analysis of events and feelings. Enough to make worthwhile buying the book.
The remaining stories, by no means “ghostly,” are pleasant, unpretentious fillers. To me the best ones are “The Parrot”, the vivid portrait of a loner experiencing for the first time what love is and how much one has to pay in order to get it, and “ Fur,” an offbeat tale featuring an old aunt always wearing a smelly fur coat.
I cannot recommend enough the purchase of the book due to the inclusion of that superb novella.
- Book Review: A CURIOUS CARTOGRAPHY - September 3, 2023
- Book Review: ELEMENT OF DOUBT - July 2, 2023
- Book Review: THE CANAL AND OTHER WEIRD STORIES - March 13, 2023
- Book Review: THE HORROR COLLECTION: SAPPHIRE EDITION - January 31, 2023
- Book Review: LOOMING LOW, VOLUME 2 - November 7, 2022
- Book Review: DARK ARTS - October 8, 2022
- Book Review: AN UNHEAVENLY HOST - August 28, 2022
- Book Review: SCAR TISSUE - July 22, 2022
- Book Review: HOWLS FROM THE DARK AGES - April 27, 2022
- Book Review: LIMINAL SPACES - March 12, 2022