Monday, 1 April 2013

Dollhouse of terror...

Over at A Podcast to the Curious, Will and Mike talk about M.R. James' story written for Queen Mary's huge, posh dolls' house. As always it's a very interesting chat with lots of background detail and anecdotes. Also, there are links to notes and other information.

If you're familiar with the story, you'll recall that it's one of the more nasty MRJ yarns. It features the killing of innocent children (as in 'Lost Hearts') and a supernatural device that the author himself admits is a reworking of 'The Mezzotint'. For some reason I like this one - it seems to add up to more than the sum of its parts.

4 comments:

Aonghus Fallon said...

I think 'The Mezzotint' would be one of my favourite short stories by James ('Oh Whistle and I'll Come to You, My Lad' being another). Funnily enough I came across another horror story revolving around a doll's house recently - 'The Inner Room' by Robert Aickman. If you haven't read it already, it's well worth checking out.

Oscar Solis said...

While I enjoyed the Haunted Doll's House when I first read it, I preferred The Mezzotint. I'll have to look for that Aickman story. I have to say that, while brilliant, he's a difficult writer to get into, at least for me.

I'm not sure which James story is my favorite, but I'd put Wailing Well, Rats, Lost Hearts, Number 13, as well as An Episode of Cathedral History as the scariest ones by him that I've read. Martin's Close has the creepiest image (***Spoiler*** to those who have not read it): the ghost coming up out of the pond under the darkening sky.

valdemar said...

I like 'The Inner Room', and had the pleasure of hearing Jeremy Dyson (co-writer of The League of Gentleman) read it at the first Halifax Ghost Story Festival. Which was odd, because as you'll recall, it's written from a female perspective!

Re: MRJ, my favourites vary, but 'Lost Hearts' and 'Rats' are always among them. I like the 'lesser' stories more than most, though, such as 'A View from a Hill'.

Aonghus Fallon said...

O.S. - I totally understand what you mean about Aikman being a difficult author. The story is really more literary fiction than outright horror and so might not be to everybody's tastes.

Valdemar - yes,, probably more effective if read by a twelve-year-old girl! I know one of the LOG crowd (Gatiss?) had a book out - 'Devil in Amber' which was pretty good.