'The Lost Maze' by Helen Grant

The Ghosts & Scholars Book of Mazes contains eight previously published stories, plus six new ones.

We move on to the newbies with Helen Grant's tale of a man called Nick who acquires a country house. We meet him just as he meets a mysterious stranger in his new property - a beautiful, scantily-clad young woman. Nick, a lonely sort of chap, assumes she is linked to the previous owner, and doesn't want to actually order her out. Instead he discusses a mystery with her - the fact that a maze was said to have been created for the house, but nobody seems to know what became of it.

I didn't know where this one was going, and I was pleasantly surprised to find a genuinely new take on the concept of the labyrinth, complete with an image of the Minotaur. I can't give too much away - suffice to say that Grant neatly puts Nick in a deeply unpleasant situation, and pulls off a remarkably effective climax. There's a nod to M.R. James, but the idea seems entirely original. Also, this is the first Jamesian story I've read in which the word nipple is used, but perhaps I've been looking in the wrong places.

What will I encounter next in the mazy anthology? Stay tuned and we'll both find out soon.


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