Tuesday, 26 January 2021
Friday, 22 January 2021
Thursday, 21 January 2021
The final novella in this collection from Sarob Press is 'Spirit of the Season', which 'explores the idea of old Christmas, strange ritual, ancient powers and age-old winter terrors'. It certainly does.
The story begins with a childhood recollection of a rather creepy Christmas decoration. Then we move up to date with a husband and wife team planning the next in a series of books about folklore. The husband, a folklorist, has discovered what he thinks may be the first reference in English to Father Christmas - originally called 'Old Christmas'. He suspects that the familiar character has odd, dark origins and invites a medium to a remote, half-renovated castle where a strange manifestation allegedly took place in the reign of Henry V.
The medium - one inevitably thinks of Margaret Rutherford - is nervous and wonders if this is a standard haunting or something more peculiar. A foray into the cellars reveals that there are indeed some unburied secrets. Psychic powers are deployed and a very effective scene turns a moderately-paced ghost story into a frenetic chase, with the forces of darkness in full pursuit. At the end of the story the main character finds what he was looking for - in a way.