Empty Bookshelves

Don’t you love turning up at a holiday house and scanning the bookshelves for your holiday read? Something you might not necessarily choose in a library or book store, a new genre?
My obsession with Ghost Stories began in an Aldeburgh cottage on the seafront. On the bookshelf was a huge collection of stories by M.R James including A warning to the Curious, which I’m convinced is set in Aldeburgh disguised as Seaburgh with it’s Martello tower and shingle beach. It’s perhaps the reason it was in the cottage. I have bought I think most of the Ghost stories out there and read them religiously each December.
Summer 2020 sees all holiday houses stripped of books, games and films due to Covid so we’re forced to take our own.
I’m packing a collection of ghost stories by one of my favourite authors Kate Mosse. The Mistletoe Bride is a story which I can read and again even though I know by heart the awful tale of a wedding game of hide and seek gone wrong.
Another favourite I’ll take is The Signalman by Charles Dickens. A lonely signalman has witnessed two disasters on a railway line. They were both preceded by the appearance of a spectre at the mouth of the train tunnel shouting a warning. One dismal day a stranger calls out to the signalman using the same warning. He clambers down into the dank railway siding setting off a chain of frightening events with terrible consequences. Dickens delivers a truly chilling ending, you really need to read it!
I listened to Susan Hill discuss how to write ghost stories on Radio 4 once and it really all is about the denouement. That moment you anticipate with shoulders up near your ears, heart thumping in your chest! It’s such good fun! I could talk ghost stories all week!

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