LeFanu is highly thought of by a lot of horror aficionados, so I was exciting to have a chance to read this book. Dover’s edition is not the full volume that was published in the 40s; this book has four stories in it. “Green Tea” is the tale of a man haunted because he’s overstimulated his brain and body with, well, green tea; a demon of sorts follows him everywhere. “Squire Toby’s Will” is the tale of a father and two sons, and what happens when a parent favors one child too much over the other, creating hatred that transcends the grave. “The Fortunes of Robert Ardagh” and “Sir Dominic’s Bargain” are both deals with the devil tales, the second being a superior story. ‘Ardagh’ fails to deliver the creepiness for some reason.
LeFanu’s prose is lovely, if slow, to read. It comes from the era where something being ‘a fast read’ wasn’t a concern. It’s ornamental and lyrical in high Gothic manner. It creates an air of extreme tension in ‘Green Tea’, and dread in the others. If you like old school horror, try these tales.
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