As The Evenings Darken, R.I.P. VI Draws to a Close …

“Regardless of what my thermometer tells me, my heart tells me that autumn is here and that it is once again time to revel in things ghostly and ghastly, in stories of things that go bump in the night. It is time to trail our favorite detectives as they relentlessly chase down their prey, to go down that dark path into the woods, to follow flights of fantasy and fairy tale that have a darker heart than their spring time brethren. To confront gothic, creepy, horror stories in all their chilling delight.”

It was an invitation I couldn’t possibly refuse.

I have read wonderful books:

The Poison Tree by Erin Kelly
Ghastly Business by Louise Levene
The Baskerville Legacy by John O’Connell
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
What They Do in the Dark by Amanda Coe.
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Two Emilys by Sophia Lee
Midwinter Sacrifice by Mons Kallentoft

I have read about many more.

And I’m still reading:

Tales of Terror from The Tunnel’s Mouth by Chris Priestley

Wonderful seasonal reading!

What have you been reading as the evenings darken?

Ghastly Business by Louise Levene

On a grey London morning in 1929, Dora Strang left her lodgings to catch the bus to go to work for the very first time.

She sat quietly, unnoticed, listening to a group of women discussing a scandalous murder case. They didn’t know that, very soon, Dora would know every detail of that case.

Because Dora was going to work for the distinguished pathologist, Doctor Alfred Kemble.

Dora, a doctor’s daughter, proved to be very capable and efficient, and she learned a good deal. She would work very closely with Doctor Kemble. Maybe too closely.

Doctor Kemble, a man with intelligence, charisma, self-confidence and an air of mystery intrigued her. I understood why, but it worried me. Because something was not quite right, and surely no good could come of it …

And that’s as much as I’m going to say about the story. It twisted very cleverly, and in ways that I didn’t expect, so it would be wrong to give anything away.

I loved the way it avoided the obvious, and I loved that things weren’t tied up too neatly.

Louise Levene captures time and place perfectly, and she writes wonderfully, with wit, with a lovely turn of phrase, and with such verve that it is quite impossible to resist being swept along.

She can do characters, and she has assembled a fine cast: Dora’s landlady, strong on pest control and weak on cookery, was a particular delight.

She can do set pieces too: from postmortem, to courtroom scenes, to a dinner party from hell. All quite fascinating to observe in such a different era.

The only thing I had an issue with was the pacing. After that intriguing opening things moved slowly for a long time, until, suddenly, I found myself struggling to keep up with a rush of events towards the end.

I held on, first waiting patiently and then working hard to keep track of what was going on.

Because I was intrigued, because I was puzzled, and because there was so much to enjoy along the way.

And, in the end, I was not disappointed.

As Summer Draws to a Close, RIP VI Begins …

Summer is fading, the temperature is dropping, and the evenings are drawing in. Autumn is approaching, bring with it the sixth annual RIP challenge.

A wonderful opportunity to read mystery,suspense, thriller, dark fantasy, gothic, horror, supernatural…

“Regardless of what my thermometer tells me, my heart tells me that autumn is here and that it is once again time to revel in things ghostly and ghastly, in stories of things that go bump in the night. It is time to trail our favorite detectives as they relentlessly chase down their prey, to go down that dark path into the woods, to follow flights of fantasy and fairy tale that have a darker heart than their spring time brethren. To confront gothic, creepy, horror stories in all their chilling delight.”

Now doesn’t that sound perfect?

So many wonderful possibilities, and I have pulled together a pool of eight books.

Tales of Terror from the Tunnel’s Mouth by Chris Priestly has been waiting for quite a while. The final part of a trilogy, I so want to read it but I really don’t want the series to be over.

I have already begun What They Do in the Dark by Amanda Coe. It is very strange and very dark.

The story of Sweeny Todd has been retold many times, and I want to read the book that told the story first: The String of Pearls by Thomas Peskett Prest.

Ghastly Business by Louise Levene caught my eye quite recently – a bluestocking is caught up in a murder mystery in twenties London.

The Baskerville Legacy by John O’Connell tells the story of Arthur Conan-Doyle as he travels to Dartmoor and writes – or maybe co-writes – that famous story.

Midwinter Sacrifice by Mons Kallentoff is a Scandinavian murder mystery, with a woman investigator who looks very, very interesting.

The Unseen by Katherine Webb is a story of spiritualism in Edwardian England that has been sitting on my bedside table for a while, waiting for this season.

And I am intrigued by the The Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness.

So many intriguing possibilities.

And there are group reads, short stories, films to ponder too.

Autumn will be wonderful.

What do you plan to read as the days shorten?