Thursday, 14 September 2017

As They Grow Older - Running Review 3.

Moving on with Stephen Cashmore's collection of children's ghost stories we come to 'The House at the End of Witch Street'. This is one of a series of tales about strange doing in the eponymous thoroughfare, which is 'the longest street in town'. Lots of haunting potential, then. In this story a boy called Jonathon glimpses something in the window of the house and decides to investigate. The result is an encounter that gives the lad a bit of a fright, and leads to the house becoming vacant. There's a Ray Bradbury feel about this one, with a boy inhabiting a world of perilous imaginings he can't really share with the grown-up world.

The next story is 'Sunset'. Jenny and Bill stay at a beach house with their aunt and uncle. Jenny has a vision of an old woman with a dog who 'isn't really there'. Jenny investigates (this book is full of intrepid children who probe mysteries) and has a disturbing experience, but does not resolve the apparent haunting. However, the truth is revealed many years later in a clever twist ending.

'The Scariest Moment' was inspired, the author explains. by Hodgson's Carnacki story 'The Horse of the Invisible'. It also introduces the Spook, a teacher who tells seasonal ghostly tales. This one has a touch of Robert Westall about it, as a series of strange messages appear on a blackboard. Suspicion falls on a prankster called Billy. But when the teacher stays behind in his classroom at night something far more disturbing is revealed.

More if this review soon. And just a reminder that, if you buy a copy of As They Grow Older you'll be making a donation to a very worthy cause. See link above for details.

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