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Customer reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
5

on 7 January 2013
If you like tales which are out of the ordinary then this is the book for you. Really enjoyed this collection
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on 29 April 2013
I purchased this book because it was on offer and am I glad I did. Creepy tales, dark humour all with a common thread plus has the advantage of the short story format, most enjoyable!
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on 30 September 2011
Imagine, as a lover of the classic English ghost story, that you had yet to discover the works of MR James.
Yes, seriously... it's like that.
Actually, it's as though the Binscombe tales, written in the closing years of the last millennium, had been deliberately preserved from mass-readership because their time had not yet come. Well, perhaps - for a number of reasons - now it has.
Binscombe, of course, exists - a village in Surrey, which may or may not be a repository of the kind of whimsically stubborn Englishness you'll find in these stories. An ancient Englishness which resonates just as strongly as more fashionable Celtic echoes. Behind the wit and the satire and the cute metaphors (`as frigid as a fiancee') lurk some very fine traditional ghost stories with an unexpectedly modern slant. Some are short, some are epic - like the tale of the two terribly English Leninist sisters whose video recorder houses something horribly Amityville.
The constant narrator is Mr Oakley, whose Binscombe heritage goes back far further than he knows... an unsuspecting pilgrim whose progress is being monitored from the start by the mysterious Mr Disvan, whose true status is finally unveiled in the last story. And, as if to make sure this really IS the last story, Whitbourn behaves like the Beatles on Abbey Road by tossing down the ideas he could have turned into another volume. Ah, the arrogance of genius...
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on 8 October 2011
Weird and spooky stuff! Kinda creepy but also really rather well written, like a dose of literary horror. Though it's not really horror in the modern sense, more spine tingling atmospheric creepiness. There's so much gory Saw like horror knocking around you tend to forget how well written, sinister and spooky 'horror' really can be. In the hands of a master like John Whitbourn these stories are exactly that, I couldn't recommend them more. Perfect for reading in front of a big fire just as the clock chimes midnight on Halloween...
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on 4 November 2011
I've been recommending the Binscombe Tales for a long while, searching them out in scattered anthologies. Its good to see them easily available in one place! These are difficuly to describe: yes, there are some classic ghost stories - the comparison with M R James is well made - but there's a strong fantasy and folkloric element. The nearest recent thing anything like these I can think of is the 'Rivers of London', but these stories are much darker and set in an English village in pub, council estate and suburban railway embankment. I think I'm going to have to buy a complete set...
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