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The Power of Darkness: Tales of Terror by E.…

The Power of Darkness: Tales of Terror

by E. Nesbit

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Showing 4 of 4
Perhaps best know for her Boxcar Children series, E. Nesbit also wrote many entertaining ghost stories. The stories are fairly lightweight, similar to what one would expect from an episode of The Twilight Zone.

My thanks to the good folks at The Literary Darkness reading group for introducing me to this and many other examples of literary dark fiction. There is no other group at Goodreads as capable of picking apart a book and helping readers glean from it all they can. ( )
  Unkletom | Mar 18, 2018 |
There's a terrific range of stories in here, from the Gothic to the romantic to the downright terrifying - there's only a couple of the latter, but they're doozies. ( )
  jen.e.moore | Sep 17, 2016 |
Surprisingly wonderful. I've always thought "Man Size in Marble" was a great little ghost story, with a surprisingly nasty pay off but I wasn't expecting a similarly despairing and bleak tone to most of the stories. There are a couple of semi-clunkers and oddly Nesbit seems to get a bit more florid the older she gets (and there's nothing I hate more than a florid ghost story), but the best of it - "The Shadow" particularly springs to mind, which has some heart breaking moments in it - is absolutely top notch stuff. ( )
1 vote irkthepurist | Jun 3, 2008 |
A collection of 20 ghost stories by an author best known for her childrens' books. Some are scary, some are dark, some are just plain weird. Most are about men and what happens to them when they don't act according to some sort of „norm“. As we learn in the introduction Nesbit had to share her husband with another woman and even raised her child. She did so without complaining, but I believe her unhappiness comes through in her ghost stories where she punishes men whether they have done something wrong or not. Today the stories don't seem that scary anymore because similar stories have been written since then, but in her time they must have been quite unique, especially written by a women.
There are stories about zombies, haunted houses, ghosts and vampiric vines among many others.
All in all, it's a very good and interesting collection and I like the short story format. It warns you on the cover not to read them before going to bed, and some may haunt you. I read one story every day on the train and it was the perfect book for that. I'd recommend it to everyone who loves a good ghost story although it sometimes shows its age. ( )
7 vote Thalia | Apr 27, 2008 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
E. Nesbitprimary authorall editionscalculated
Davies, David StuartEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Although every word of this tale is true, I do not expect people to believe it.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Stories: Man-size in Marble, Uncle Abraham's Romance, From the Dead, The Three Drugs, The Violet Car, John Charrington's Wedding, The Pavilion, Hurst of Hurstcote, In the Dark, The Head, The Mystery of the Semi-detached, The Ebony Frame, The Five Senses, The Shadow, The Power of Darkness, The Haunted Inheritance, The Letter in Brown Ink, The House of Silence, The Haunted House, The Detective.
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"Man-Size in Marble"-- Nesbit definitely didn't model the wimpy wife in this story on herself! Newly-weds find the perfect, secluded cottage where they can paint and write in peace. However local legend has it that no one ever stays in the cottage on All Saints' Eve.

"Uncle Abraham's Romance"--A lame youth falls in love with a beautiful young woman he meets at night in a graveyard. We know this isn't going to end well.

"From the Dead"--A woman warns a man that his fiancée is really in love with her brother, and produces a letter as proof. She ends up marrying the man, then confesses that she forged the letter. Nesbit strays over the border into mawkishness in this story, and also invokes catalepsy as a plot device--a medical condition much favored by Victorian horror writers.

"The Three Drugs"--While trying to elude three Parisian street thugs, a man falls into the hands of a mad doctor, who promises him immortality.

"The Violet Car"--A man is haunted by the ghost of an automobile--the same one that ran over his daughter and killed her.

"John Charrington's Wedding"-- It's bad enough when brides are accidentally locked into chests or pursued by demon lovers, but when the groom is overheard telling his fiancée, "My dear, my dear, I believe I should come from the dead if you wanted me!" watch out!

"The Pavilion"--Two young men who are in love with the same woman make a bet to spend half-a-night alone in a haunted pavilion, first the one and then the other.

"Hurst of Hurstcote"--A student who dabbles in black magic inherits a mansion and marries the woman both he and his friend fell in love with. When the friend, now a physician, visits the happy couple several years later, the woman dies of swamp fever. Her grief-stricken husband is convinced she isn't really dead.

"In the Dark"--A man commits murder, disposes of the corpse, but it keeps turning up on the date of its death. This one's truly frightening.

"The Head"--A man recreates the scene of a fire that killed his only true love, and keeps it in his cellar. This story contains several deft comic touches, but the ending is macabre.

"The Mystery of the Semi-detached"--A man persuades his fiancée and her family to move out of their comfortable semi-detached house because he had a vision of her murdered body in the house's bedroom.

"The Ebony Frame"--A newly rich man discovers the portrait of a beautiful woman in his attic. He falls in love with her, and the portrait comes alive. They had been lovers in centuries past, but she had been burned as a witch.

"The Five Senses"--A scientist's fiancée rejects him because his research involves animals. He throws himself into his work and discovers a drug that enhances all of the senses. When it comes time to test the drug on humans, he injects himself. Unfortunately, he'd forgotten to leave a message for his lab assistant describing the antidote, and he is thought to be dead.

"The Shadow"--The housekeeper is inveigled into telling a group of Christmas guests her own ghost story. Only one of them seems to realize that it is also a love story.

"The Power of Darkness"--Very spooky. A man who is afraid of the dark is tricked into a bet that forces him to spend the night in a Parisian wax museum. This story does not end as you might expect.

"The Haunted Inheritance"--A rather sweet story of love in a supposedly haunted house. Two legatees are to decide which one will inherit the old Elizabethan mansion, and which one will be content with money.

"Number 17"--Who would want to spend the night in a hotel room where four of the previous inhabitants had committed suicide?

"The Letter in Brown Ink"--A mad old woman holds her niece captive in her attic, trying to force her to turn over her inheritance to the old woman's favorite charities.

"The House of Silence"--A thief breaks into a deserted old mansion and finds the treasure room. Then his real troubles begin.

"The Haunted House"--Another mad scientist, this one a pseudo-vampire. Dated (the blood transfusion information is completely wrong) and not very funny.

"The Detective"--An error of two and sevenpence in one column and a clerk parts ways with his profession to become a detective. Disguised as a painter, he takes shelter in a deserted lodge near the mansion of the man he has been paid to spy on, and is a reluctant witness to a passionate tryst. But all is not as it seems.
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