Spectral Shadows by Robert Westall

Spectral Shadows: Three Supernatural Novellas (Blackham's Wimpey, The Wheatstone Pond, Yaxley's Cat) - Robert Westall

Spectral Shadows is a collection of three novellas written by Robert Westall. This is my third story collection from Westall and I've loved them all.

 

Blackham's Wimpy is the story of a haunted plane. There's lots of English slang, but it's easy to glean the meanings from the surrounding text. Now that I've read this masterfully told story, I wonder why no one else has thought or wrote about a haunted warplane before? Perhaps it's not really as easy as Westall makes it look, but it's one helluva story!

 

The Wheatstone Pond-is a nifty tale, returning to the framing device of a mature antique dealer, a technique Westall used in his collection Antique Dust (Click to see my review). It worked for me then, and it worked for me now. Also, it's just interesting to think about the history of things only recently unearthed, (or in this case unwatered?) Who did they belong to and how did they get there? Sometimes, curiosity kills the cat.

 

Speaking of which, Yaxley's Cat is the last story here, and even though I didn't care much for the main character, this one was my favorite of the bunch. I'm a sucker for evil in a small town stories and this one certainly fits the bill. An abandoned home in a small village becomes the vacation destination of a young married woman, her son and daughter. Even though there's no electricity, her children beg her to stay and stay they do. I can't say much more without spoiling things, but I thought this tale was fun, even if a bit predictable.

 

Robert Westall is an author I would have never discovered without the aid of Valancourt Books. He was a treasure that I somehow missed and I'm glad he was finally brought to my attention. His stories are usually genuinely creepy and family friendly. I like that and find it refreshing.

 

I highly recommend this collection of novellas and if you decide to give it a try, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

 

*A free e-copy of this book was provided by Valancourt Books in exchange for my honest review. This is it!*

 

20 Books of Summer: Book 18