Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Horror Stories of E.F. Benson

   Still in my pre-Halloween warm up, (Heck it's always Halloween at my place) I've been reading the short stories of E.F. Benson. Benson was a British writer who wrote a couple of my favorite horror tales, Caterpillars and The Room in the Tower. But he wrote a lot more than that, and over the last couple of weeks I've been working my way through a Kindle collection, reading a story every other day or so and finding some real chillers. H.P. Lovecraft was fond of 'Negotium Perambulans', and having read it, I can see why it appealed to the Gentleman from Providence.
   Another couple of good ones are 'The House With the Brick Kiln' and 'The Other Bed'. Benson's stories are very much those of a Victorian, but his prose isn't as mannered as someone like M. R. James. His horror tales are mostly written in a straight forward first person style that gives them the feeling of actual accounts, like someone who has experienced a terrible ordeal is telling you about it in confidence.
   You can track down some of E.F. Benson's work on the web for free, but the collection I picked up was only 99 cents for 36 horror tales. Well worth your time.


Keith West said...

I love Benson's work, having read "Caterpillars" when I was around ten or so. I shelled out the bucks some years back to get Benson's complete spook stories when Ash-Tree Press published them. It was the only place to find them at the time. Ash Tree has since brought them out as ebooks for $6.99 apiece. There's also a collection of the ghost stories written by his brothers A. C. and R. H. as well as the complete (?) ghost stories of A. M. Burrage and H. Russell Wakefield, among many others.

Charles R. Rutledge said...

Keith, I had picked up the Wakefield collection from Ash Tree, but not the various Bensons. Thanks for the heads up.

Keith West said...

You're quite welcome. It looks like Ash Tree is bringing their entire backlist out in ebook form. Which means I can actually afford to fill in the gaps in my collection.