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The Empty House And Other Ghost Stories

The Empty House And Other Ghost Stories - Algernon Blackwood I've come to expect a very high standard from Blackwood so when I encounter something of his that is only so-so, it might well be that I come across overly negative. This is only because I have such a high regard for him generally.

This is Blackwood's first published collection and, in my opinion, it shows. This is a Blackwood not yet at the height of his powers, writing supernatural stories in a more conventional manner than we went on to do later. Stories like "The Empty House" and "A Case of Evesdropping" are classic examples of quite predictable and deeply conventional ghost stories, albeit still told with is unique voice.

A few of the stories begin to rise above this. "The Wood of the Dead" is spectacular just for the way he evokes the feel of the time and place so well even though the plot itself is nothing special. In "A Suspicious Gift" a suitably weird and curious story develops only to fall flat at the end with the cop-out of a "it was all only a dream" finish.

The highlights of the collection for me were "With Intent to Steal" that was a most effective horror story and "The Strange Adventures of a Private Secretary in New York" which is just downright weird.

Perhaps this is a good place to start with his work but even then I'd chose a collection that spanned his career (such as [b:Ancient Sorceries and Other Weird Stories|93220|Ancient Sorceries and Other Weird Stories|Algernon Blackwood|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1347255981s/93220.jpg|574316]). Still, as I said, there's nothing really bad in here. A solid collection of mostly conventional Edwardian ghost stories.