Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Grim Tales, by E. Nesbit (author), Peter Yearsley (narrator)

LibriVox (original publication 1904)

I had no idea Edith Nesbit wrote for adults, but, since she did, it makes sense she'd write at least some horror.

A total of seven stories, they're darkly creepy rather than filled with screaming, dramatic incidents of terror, and gore.

A man in love is approached by another woman he knows with a letter his beloved wrote to the woman's brother--a passionate love letter. He ends his engagement, and gradually, comes to love, and marry, the woman who exposed the truth. But was it the truth? Was the letter a forgery? Can the answer to both questions be "yes"? He makes a tragically wrong decision, and has a tragically dark encounter.

A rather shallow young man inherits his aunt's property, and in the attic he finds two carefully hidden portraits--a woman wearing a black velvet gown, and a man who is, unmistakably, him. This despite teh fact that he's dressed like a cavalier of an earlier century. He becomes obsessed with the woman in the portrait.

A man and his wife, he a writer and she a painter, buy a charming little house in the country. The man is warned to keep the door locked on Halloween, and told a frightening but obviously ridiculous story about the two stone effigy knights in church not far from the house. Since it is obviously ridiculous, he forgets to do so, and moreover goes for an evening walk, leaving his wife alone in the house.

These are well-written and enjoyable tales, but this collection was first published in 1904, and the stories themselves may have been written even earlier. There are strong, intelligent women here, but we also have husbands who call their wives "child." It's a late 19th/early 20th century sensibility, and irritating sometimes.

Worth a read if you're prepared to make allowances for that. Nesbit was a very good writer.

I got this audiobook free via LibriVox, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

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