Ghosts in the House
Published in 2018 by HarperCollins.
The Benson brothers – Arthur Christopher, Edward Frederic and Robert Hugh – were one of the most extraordinary and prolific literary families, between them writing more than 150 books. Arthur alone left four million words of diary, although his most lasting legacy is the words to Elgar’s Land of Hope and Glory, while Fred is acknowledged as one of the finest writers of Edwardian supernatural fiction: the name E. F. Benson is mentioned in the same breath as other greats such as M. R. James and H. R. Wakefield.
In fact, all three brothers wrote ghost stories, although the work of Arthur and Hugh in this field has long been overshadowed by their brother’s success. Now the best supernatural tales of A. C. and R. H. Benson have been gathered into one volume by anthologist Hugh Lamb, whose introduction examines the lives and writings of these two complex and fascinating men. Originally published between 1903 and 1927, the stories include A. C. Benson’s masterful ‘Basil Netherby’ and ‘The Uttermost Farthing’, and an intriguing article by R. H. Benson about real-life haunted houses.
Introduction – Hugh Lamb
Out of the Sea – A. C. Benson
Mr. Percival’s Tale – R. H. Benson
The Traveller – R. H. Benson
Basil Netherby – A. C. Benson
Father Brent’s Tale – short story by R. H. Benson
The Snake, the Leper and the Grey Frost – A. C. Benson
Father Bianchi’s Story – R. H. Benson
The Gray Cat – A. C. Benson
Father Maddox’s Tale – R. H. Benson
The Watcher – R. H. Benson
The Hill of Trouble – A. C. Benson
Haunted Houses – R. H. Benson
The Uttermost Farthing – A. C. Benson
Father Macclesfield’s Tale – R. H. Benson
The Red Camp – A. C. Benson
My Own Tale – R. H. Benson
The Closed Window – A. C. Benson
The Blood-Eagle – R. H. Benson
The Slype House – A. C. Benson
Father Meuron’s Tale – R. H. Benson
Epilogue – Hugh Lamb
Bibliography – Hugh Lamb
“This collection of stories that span between 1903 and 1927 marked the first time that I read anything from the Benson brothers. Arthur Christopher and Robert Hugh are the storytellers in this collection.
Upon finishing all of the tales, it became clear to me that A.C. was perhaps the more compelling storyteller of the two brothers in this collection; for ‘Basil Netherby’ is a prime example of a quality Edwardian supernatural thriller. My favorite tale in this book would be the eerie and sinister ‘The Gray Cat’.
R.H. is perhaps, to me, the more “drier” storyteller of the two brothers. All of his tales have strong religious overtones to them, which can get quite overwhelming in some of his stories. His over-analyzing nature tends to take the mystery and intrigue that would otherwise be decent tales. To give R.H. some credit, however, ‘The Watcher’ did fill me with an impending dread and is his best tale in this collection.
This book was a great start for myself to discover these English authors. Make sure you leave the lights on when you read these stories.“