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"Manuel" and the masters of the British ghost story
on 21 October 2012
This is a very timely release; a very seasonal one. Andrew Sachs, whose voice, I must confess, I had never really listened to before, reads these four well-chosen chillers from the era of the great ghost story i.e. from the era of the candle and the open fire, screens, shadows and before the demise of the oral tradition in story telling.
The best ghost story is narrated; there is the tradition at this time of the year, as the nights draw in as the temperature plummets, for gathering around a fireplace and, accompanied by a little strong glass of "spirits" somebody tells a story to further chill the bones.
Chosen here is one of the most famous of such tales "The Signalman" by Charles Dickens; a story much collected, dramatised and filmed. Also E.F.Benson (he of Mapp & Lucia fame)is represented by two tales. I suspect he exploited this genre as it was a great joy to him to terrify his guests in Rye. Of the two "The Room in the Tower" is the more famous.
Completing this quartet M.R.James, also a master of the form, is represented by "The Haunted Doll's House" which simply aches to be filmed especially after the success of Susan Hill's "The Woman in Black"
This is definitely one for listening to behind drawn curtains. Dim the lights or even better light a candle or two and relive the genuine delight of being scared by the Masters