In this set of "Uncanny Tales," Mary Louisa Molesworth deftly makes us feel the shiver of ghostly mystery without actually giving us a ghost! Or, to put it another way, she's interested in a different kind of ghostly presence.
In "The Man with the Cough", it is the ghostly presence of a secret agent, and the ghostly experience of events that seem like a dream, but have real-world consequences. In "Halfway Between the Stiles", it is the ghostly presence of old memories of love that will not die away, and again, the real world responds. In "Will Not Take Place", it is a man who almost becomes a ghost, so thoroughly does he cut himself off from friends, family and the woman he loves. And in "The Clock that Struck Thirteen", a woman finds that the man she loves can become a ghostly presence, influencing her life behind the scenes.
Molesworth makes you shiver, but she also makes you laugh, and she even makes you think about the mysteries of the world.
Public Domain (P)2012 Robert Bethune and Susie Berneis
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