Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Spook Stories by E.F. Benson

Would you like to read some ghost stories by the fire with a cup of hot chocolate resting on the hob? Try the Spook Stories by E.F. Benson available at
Spook Stories
They are nicely written with careful characterisation as you would expect from one of the Benson boys. Take this introduction to Naboth’s Vineyard

Ralph Hatchard had for the last twenty years been making a very good income at the Bar; no one could marshal facts so tellingly as he, no one could present a case to a jury in so persuasive and convincing a way, nor make them see the situation he pictured to them with so sympathetic an eye. He disdained to awaken sentiment by moving appeals to humanity, for he had not, either in his private or his public life, any use for mercy, but demanded mere justice for his client. Many were the cases in which, not by distorting facts, but merely by focusing them for the twelve intelligent men whom he addressed, he had succeeded in making them look through the telescope of his mind, and see at the end of it precisely what he wished them to see. But if he had been asked of which out of all his advocacies he was most intellectually proud, he would probably have mentioned one in which that advocacy had not been successful. This was in the famous Wraxton case of seven years ago, in which he had defended a certain solicitor, Thomas Wraxton, on a charge of embezzlement and conversion to his own use of the money of a client.

There’s a certain sort of diction that goes with a good ghost story. It’s slightly elevated, superior and authoritative. Individuals are encountered, not met.

Hatchard was a bachelor; he had little opinion of women as companions, and it was enough for him in town when his day's work was over to take his dinner at the club, and after a stern rubber or two at bridge, to retire to his flat, and more often than not work at some case in which he was engaged till the small hours.

small hours begs for single quotes as an advertent lapse into the demotic.. His ghouls are not commonplace creatures.

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