• The Travelling Grave and Other Stories

  • Valancourt 20th Century Classics
  • By: L. P. Hartley
  • Narrated by: Guy Bethell
  • Length: 9 hrs and 7 mins
  • 3.7 out of 5 stars (14 ratings)

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The Travelling Grave and Other Stories

By: L. P. Hartley
Narrated by: Guy Bethell
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Publisher's summary

Though best known for his classic novel of Edwardian childhood The Go-Between, L. P. Hartley was also a master of supernatural and macabre fiction, the best of which is collected in The Travelling Grave and Other Stories.

This volume demonstrates Hartley's versatility, ranging from traditional ghost stories like "Feet Foremost" and "The Cotillon" to the wonderfully black humor of the horror masterpieces "The Travelling Grave" and "The Killing Bottle". Originally published in 1948 and long out of print, this collection features 12 of Hartley's best tales.

©1948, 2017 The Estate of L.P. Hartley (P)2017 Valancourt Books, LLC

Critic reviews

Narrator Guy Bethell deftly renders these supernatural and macabre stories, originally published in 1948. In "Podolo," the standout, Bethell's mature voice and conversational style describe a couple who go to an island near Venice. When they see a starving feral cat, the woman decides she'll either capture it or kill it. The conclusion is eerie in its uncertainty. In the title story, Richard Mount sounds cruel as he suggests a game of hide-and-seek to his guests. As the game progresses, they become uncertain whether an oblong container is a bathtub or a coffin, and listeners will share their foreboding. In "Cotillon," a masked ball gives a humiliated man an opportunity for revenge. Bethell's spirited narration keeps listeners on edge to the last moment. S.G.B. © AudioFile

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Evoking the Unspeakable

Would you listen to The Travelling Grave and Other Stories again? Why?

Probably not. While I enjoyed the experience as a novelty, I find I prefer to read books at my own pace, reread passages w/ ease, & often make marginal notes (I'm a teacher of English).

Who was your favorite character and why?

I don't think that in this volume anyway, Hartley creates any particularly likable characters. There are some we can sympathize with (e.g. Marion in "The Cotillon" or the watchman in "Night Fears") but hardly like as we might, say, Ishmael in *Moby-Dick.* The pleasure lies rather in the language and the tensions of the situations created.

Which scene was your favorite?

Where in "Feet Foremost." literally out of the blue, the plane crashes & Maggie finds herself in a situation analogous to one waiting for an organ transplant that will save the beloved's life - provided the victim of the accident dies ...

If you could rename The Travelling Grave and Other Stories, what would you call it?

Either "Podolo and Other Stories" or "The Killing Bottle and Other Stories." Probably the latter, since it would catch the eye of one unfamiliar with L.P. Hartley.

Any additional comments?

A collection of tales of very British horror largely but not exclusively involving ghosts or other supernatural phenomena, The Travelling Grave is written in lucid, nimble prose, rich in the exact descriptive details needed to concisely nail scene or atmosphere, and with a sense of humor at times quite delightful (e.g. “A Change of Ownership”), at others broadly satirical (“Three or Four for Dinner”). Doubles, animate shadows hugging material b