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Hector Hugh Munro (1870-1916) is better known by the pen name Saki. He remains hugely popular as a British writer whose witty, mischievous and sometimes macabre stories satirised Edwardian society and culture. "The Interlopers" is the story of two sworn enemies who find themselves trapped and injured under a fallen tree in a forest at night.Show more
Joseph Smith Fletcher (1863-1935) was a British journalist and author. He wrote more than 230 books on a wide variety of subjects, both fiction and nonfiction. He was one of the leading writers of detective fiction in the Victorian golden age of the short story. This collection brings together some of the finest and most diverse examples of Fletcher's genius. 'The Ivory God' is the tale of a failing writer who acquires a strange ivory carving of an Indian god. He becomes convinced that the statue is communicating with him, taking possession of him, even writing through him.Show more
Leonard Merrick (1864-1939) was a well-known English novelist who was popular with the likes of H. G. Wells, J. M. Barrie, G. K. Chesterton and William Dean Howells. Many of his stories have, over the years, been adapted to the screen. J. M. Barrie called Merrick the 'novelist's novelist'. The Cafè of the Broken Heart is situated near the cemetery at Monmartre. When a widow calls by on the last day of the year and asks for a private room to grieve on the third anniversary of the death of her late husband, she is irritated to learn that the room is already occupied. She gets into conversation with the other mourner - a young artist - and discovers that he has a very strange story to tell.Show more
Ernest Bramah (1868-1942) was an English author of 21 novels and numerous short stories and features. His humorous works have been ranked with Jerome K. Jerome and W. W. Jacobs, his detective stories with Conan Doyle, his politico-science fiction with H. G. Wells, and his supernatural stories with Algernon Blackwood. In his stories of detection, Bramah hit on the idea of a blind detective, Max Carrados, whose triumphs are all the more amazing because of his disability. In this story, Max Carrados is called in to investigate a mysterious ghost which haunts an empty flat in Massingham Mansions in London. Every night gastlights are seen in the apartment, even though the gas has been disconnected. Also water runs in the bath every night, even though the water supply has been turned off. Carrados quickly realises that the detectives on the case are barking up the wrong tree....Show more
A gripping mystery story by Charles Dickens. A newly qualified doctor receives a call from his first patient - a mysterious woman who is deeply distressed and who is covered in a thick black veil. She tells him a confusing story about a dying man who she wishes the doctor to visit the following day, although she assures the doctor that the patient will certainly be dead by then. The young doctor agrees that he will make the visit at nine on the next morning...and finds himself on the strangest professional call of his entire life.Show more
Arnold Bennett (1867-1931) was an English author, born in one of the Five Towns which form the background of so many of his witty stories. 'The Fire of London' is an unusual mystery story about a case of fraud and blackmail. Bruce Bowring, a businessman of dubious integrity, has been running what amounts to a Ponzi scheme in the heart of the city of London. At the start of our story, Bowring receives a mysterious telephone call from a stranger, warning him that his house will be burgled that evening. Shortly afterwards, a telegram arrives, signed by his wife, suggesting they dine out, as their cook is drunk. As Bowring sets off for the rendezvous with his wife, he has no inkling of the strange series of adventures which await him.Show more
Robert Barr (1849-1912) was a Scottish-Canadian short story writer and novelist, born in Glasgow, Scotland. 'The Hour-Glass' is a mysterious ghost story. An avid antique collector buys an ancient and defective hourglass from a curiosity shop. When he takes it home and starts to examine it, he is startled by a strange visitor who claims to be the real owner of the hourglass. His story is a very bizarre one.Show more
Arnold Bennett (1867-1931) was an English author, born in one of the Five Towns which form the background of so many of his witty stories. 'A Bracelet at Bruges' is a mystery story about a lost diamond bracelet. Initially there does not appear to be any mystery about the loss. Kitty Sartorius, the famous actress, visiting Bruges with her friend Eve Fincastle, had just passed the valuable trinket to her new acquaintance Madame Lawrence to look at, when the latter accidentally dropped the jewellery into the canal. But despite the best efforts of the Bruges police department to drain the bottom of the canal over several days, the bracelet does not reappear. Cecil Thorold, a mutual acquaintance who also happened to be visiting Bruges, sets out to solve the mystery. But is he more motivated to recover the jewellery, or to thwart the suave and mysterious foreign Count who seems to be very interested in Kitty Sartorius.Show more
The Welsh Triads (Trioedd Ynys Prydein, 'Triads of the Island of Britain') are a group medieval manuscripts which preserve fragments of Welsh folklore, mythology and traditional history in the form of wise sayings. The triads are terse statements of three related facts - probably to make them easier to remember. The oldest triads predate Christianity, their origins lost in the dark ages. Yet they show clearly that far from being barbarians, our ancient forefathers lived according to an advanced level of philosophy and ethics. This volume, translated from the original Welsh by Winifred Faraday (1872-1948), aims to present the oldest of the triads in an accessible form for the English listener.Show more
Vsevolod Mikhailovich Garshin (1855-1888) was a Russian author of short stories. 'The Signal' is the story of two peasants who work as track walkers on the railway, Semyon Ivanov and Vasily Stepanych. Semyon is grateful for his job and the hut and the vegetable patch which goes with it, but Vasily is discontented with his lot and constantly complains, including to his employers. This grumbling irritates the railway officials, and eventually the situation escalates, driving Vasily to take terrible revenge on the state railway.Show more
Andrew Lang (1844-1912) was a Scottish poet and novelist and also a collector of folk and fairy tales. In 'A Duchess's Secret', a young novelist is in the process of serialising a racy novel in the Fleet Street Magazine. It tells the story of a Duchess who murders her husband by giving him cheap sherry, in the knowledge that his constitution will not stand such rough liquor. The author is surprised to find a mysterious advertisement in the personal column of The Times which addresses the author of the sherry story and exhorts him to contact a certain firm of solicitors. On making enquiries, the author is invited to a remote stately home to stay with a genuine mysterious duchess who also harbours a guilty secret.Show more
Andrew Lang (1844-1912) was a Scottish poet and novelist who was also a collector of folk and fairy tales. 'The House of Strange Stories' is the tale of an evening after dinner when the various members of a house party take turns to relate a ghost story which they have experienced themselves. The stories become stranger and stranger as the evening goes on.Show more
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