Monday, 6 June 2011

Old Albert

No, this post's title doesn't refer to the Prince Regent (or the dodgy piercing so unjustly named after him). No, it's the title of a new book by Brian J. Showers, who runs Swan River Press over in Dublin's fair city and also writes a nifty ghost story. Old Albert is published by Ex Occidente. Here's a quick blurb:

The 6th of September does not bode well for those who dwell in a particular place at a particular time. Patterns have a habit of forming, reshaping and influencing the topography from which they sprout. The residue of decades builds. 
The place is Larkhill House, and during its century and a half of existence it has hosted an array of peculiar tenants: the reclusive though brilliant ornithologist Ellis Grimwood; a murderous wine merchant and his young wife; and the Sacred Order of the Mysteries of Thoth, who re-christened Larkhill the “New Temple of Abtiti” and practised there their outlandish and mystical rites. After vacating Larkhill, these individuals—all of them—left something of themselves behind. 
Since 1926 the house has played host to St. Mary’s College. And the pupils at Larkhill to this day repeat the same odd schoolyard rhyme known to students of a century past:

If dumb Old Albert calls you,
Still your tongue, be still your tongue.
If deaf Old Albert hears you,
Still your tongue, be still your tongue.
If blind Old Albert sees you,
Still your tongue, be still your tongue.
If dear Old Albert finds you,
Still your tongue, be still your tongue.

Residue builds . . . and residue infects. 
Set in the same haunted neighbourhood as the stories in the award-winning collection The Bleeding Horse, Showers’s new novella, Old Albert — An Epilogue, continues with the idea that not all is well in the leafy Victorian suburb of Rathmines, Dublin. 
A Note to the Reader by Jim Rockhill
I. Prologue
II. Ellis Grimwood of Larkhill
III. This Terrible, This Unnatural Crime
IV. An Exaltation of Skylarks
V. Thin and Brittle Bones
VI. Come Like Shadows, So Depart
End Notes

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