Superbly written stories, each disturbing in its own way. 'Stained Glass' horrifies because of its normal everyday setting. It has made me very aware of little stained glass windows in peaceful cottages! 'The Penny Execution' will thrill anyone who has read the works of Edgar Allen Poe, while 'The Sleigh' is a thoughtful, poignant tale with a supernatural twist.
Here are three intriguing, wonderfully poised and confident, beautifully written stories of the supernatural. Two are firmly in the British ghost story tradition. The third, 'The Sleigh', is based on an actual experience from a Polish childhood and has its own fascinating qualities - the poignancy of memories of long ago and the terror of a truly unnerving visitation. 'Stained Glass' and 'The Penny Execution' use the convention of the 'power object': the stained glass window which still records the shocking scene it witnessed years before and the Victorian penny-in-the-slot machine which enacts a joke beheading which grows more real every time it is played. They appear in all their strangeness and disappear unexplained: the unsettling experience they offer is the whole point of these memorable and (literally) haunting stories.
I really enjoy reading Catherine Czerkawska's books and these 3 short stories about a glass window which views a scene from the past, a penny slot maching which shows an execution and a man born in a sleigh are pretty good.
I keep saying I'm not a great one for ghost stories, then finding ghost stories that I really enjoy - like these three short stories. I'm narrowing it down to preferring not to be made to jump out of my skin. But ghost stories that just hint at a parallel reality give a delicious frisson, I am finding, before depositing me back in the world that I know; but with imagination and experience stretched beyond the normal just that little bit.
These three tiny, elegant stories stretch the barrier between the real and the unreal, making just a little rent in it through which the reader can glimpse the strange and disturbing, from the past, or from another world. Recommended ghostly reading for the scaredy-cat reader!