Crompton, Richmal - Mist And Other Ghost Stories
Traditional supernatural tales written in the 1920’s, though most seem to harken back to the Edwardian era. Crompton has a deft, unfussy style and the pages seem to breeze by.,
“The Bronze Statuette” beguiles young Marian, gentry of no accomplishments, with a predictable, if dull, future. Yet the statue, a pagan relic, casts a spell on her. Of all the stories, this is the most Machenish in tone, although the next story, “Strange,” also recalls an earlier, forbidden world.
“Marlowes” is the name of a house, not the splendid manor, but a small home ideally suited to two pensioners. The house, like other old dwellings, has a personality, and can be unwelcoming if it chooses to reject the occupants.
“The Haunting Of Greenways” catches the cuckoo, the insecure soul, never settled unless they are the select. You know the sort. If they cannot possess, cannot be loved, then no one else shall.
The title selection, “Mist,” finds a weary hiker, lost on the moor as the mist rises, thickens. Though he obtains refuge, it is bleak and suffocating. The story is not original, though it is well written and memorable.
Richard Dalby provides a succinct overview of Crompton’s life, as well as comments about her ghost stories.
Mist was a book I read about in a Halloween horrors article. For whatever reason, Mist excited casual readers more than the other recommended titles (from quality presses such as Swan River, Tartarus, Egaeus, Zagava, Centipede). It took me over a year to track down a copy.