The Ghost Club – Newly Found Tales of Victorian Terror
William Meikle
Crystal Lake Publishing
Reviewed by Mario Guslandi

Allegedly an anthology of unpublished tales by some of the greatest writers of the past, collected by the founders of an exclusive Literary Club (Arthur Conan Doyle, Henry James, and Bram Stoker), this is actually a collection by the eclectic William Meikle, whose ability to perfectly mimic the narrative style of the masters of literature is shown here in its full strength.

At the top of his game, Meikle has produced an extremely enjoyable book, that, although echoing the voices of some famous authors, contrives to create more than simple pastiches, but a number of truly effective tales.

My personal favorites are the stories attributed to two Russian masters: Leo Tolstoy’s “The Immortal Memory,” a delightful tale where a mysterious Scotsman entertains the Russian empress by reciting some poetry composed by Robert Burns, and Anthon Ceckov’s “At the Molenzki Junction,” a delicate fairy tale with a supernatural touch, set in the snowy Russian winter among howling, hungry wolves.

I also greatly enjoyed the excellent “The Curious Affair on the Embankment,” supposedly penned by Arthur Conan Doyle, a supernatural mystery featuring Inspector Lestrade (without Holmes!) trying to solve a disconcerting puzzle.

Other very good stories are the “lost pieces” by Jules Verne (“The Moon and Beyond”), a romantic example of naive, yet ingenuous SF that Verne himself would have liked; Henry James (“The Scrimshaw Set”), a traditional ghost story about a haunted chess set; and Mark Twain (“Once a Jackass”), a crime story turning into a supernatural revenge from beyond the grave.

Well worth reading are also “Wee Davie Makes a Friend,” attributed to Robert Louis Stevenson, a modern fable featuring a sick boy and a prodigious toy soldier, and Bram Stoker’s apocryphal “In the House of the Dead,” where a bereaved husband seeks consolation from his wife’s ghost.

On the whole, an extremely entertaining volume for any dark fiction lover.

About Mario Guslandi

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