In a Glass Darkly by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
In A Glass Darkly by Sheridan Le Fanu
Through a glass, darkly (1 Corinthians 13)
I enjoyed these stories and of course this includes Carmilla which I've already spoken about. The other stories here often come close to making me ask what's the the point. But these are early ghost stories that set the template for many of the strange stories I read in my youth and so I think I understand a bit about the stories.
The first volume of a three volume set that I downloaded has three short stories that would each qualify as a creepy ghost story. They are told from the point of coming from the journals kept by a occult detective Dr. Martin Hesselius as edited posthumously by his medical secretary. The notion is that the doctor had explanations for the phenomenon that might include a combination of medical knowledge and metaphysics.
These are ghost stories so they end poorly for the subject and they contain all of the exciting details that lead up to thier demise with it being left to the reader to decide if this was the work of ghosts or other agencies.
Green Tea is the story of Rev. Mr. Jennings and his brush with demons.
The Familiar is the story of Captain Barton and his struggle with ghosts of his past.
Mr. Justic Harbottle is the story of a corrupt Judges judgment.
These are all also listed as mysteries, but the mystery is never really solved, which is common in ghost stories. Although the reader gets enough background to make some conclusions.
What is interesting to me about these is that they precede the work of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and there are enough similarities to wonder if Sir Arthur was influenced by the work of Le Fanu although I've found one reference that intimated that Sir Arthur borrowed from his work in Uncle Silas.
The only real difference as detective stories go is that the strange cases Holmes took were mostly solvable cases.
So if you enjoy those ghost stories told in front of the campfire in the dead of night you should probably enjoy these. Perhaps we could even consider Dr.Hesselius as one of the original paranormal detectives if not the original.
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