The Crimson Blind and Other Ghost Stories.,
This review is from: The Crimson Blind and Other Ghost Stories (Wordsworth Mystery & Supernatural) (Tales of Mystery & the Supernatural) (Paperback)
This is a nice little collection of supernatural tales by a turn-of-the-century writer who is often overlooked.
Mrs. Henrietta Dorothy Everett, who also took the pen name of "Theo Douglas", is chiefly remembered for these short stories, although she also wrote a few full-length novels. As another reviewer has stated the collection should be named "The Death Mask and Other Stories" but Wordsworth have added a couple of tales not in the original 1920 collection and re-titled it. Some of these pieces have appeared in ghost-story anthologies over the years, which is where I first encountered her work.
The prose is beautifully written in formal Edwardian style, but the material may seem a little slight to modern readers; there are no shocks or macabre descriptions, nothing truly frightening - only a sense of wonder, sadness or perplexity at the mystery unfolded. Most of the stories are brief - presumably for magazine publication - and this puts reliance upon the idea rather than character development. The longer, novella-length tales like "The Next Heir" are among the stronger efforts. Quite a few of the stories reflect the period of writing; social attitudes are clearly defined - almost every family has at least one servant - and there are numerous references to the war; some of the male characters are either serving or invalided soldiers.
These are not - it has to be said - top-drawer examples of the genre, some of the notions are a little dated, implausible, - even absurd - but they are still reasonably diverting and absorbing stories worth adding to your collection if you appreciate classic, well-crafted mystery writing; certainly recommendable if you can obtain the collection at a good price. 3 ½ stars, ideally.