Old Crotchet: A Ghost Story

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Old Crotchet (H.E. Bulstrode's West Country Tales Book 1)

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...a short old ghost horror story with a slow build up of tension and trauma as the story unfolds....

After the end of the first World War, newly married George Simkins is introducing hios new wife, Celia, to his uncle and the estate in the countryside. Celia, being more of a city girl, is not enamoured of the visit, but agrees to go along with it. At the twelfth night wassail being held, she is astonished to find that as they have thirteen guests for dinner, a large human shaped statue called the Lady of Cartagena is bought out to prevent bad luck. Shortly afterwards, she notices that one of the ladies in the paintings resembles the Lady. Her fears do not recede for the remainder of the trip and they return to London. But then, soon after Celia gives birth to a healthy son, George’s uncle dies and it is decided they should return to the manor at Hinton St Cuthbert, only this time in charge of the place…

This is a short old ghost horror story with no jump scares or evil monsters but a slow build up of tension and trauma as the story unfolds. The characters are as you would expect from an England set between the World Wars and the writing does an admirable job of keeping them engaging despite their foibles. It is well written and moves the story along at a pace and happily seems to have cut out any filler in the story. The biggest problem is that while there is plenty of things to be involved in what is going on, there is little to no explanation as to why such events are occurring, whether it be past misdemeanours or something else. There seems to be no reason for things to happen in such a way and it leaves the reader a little baffled as to what may, or may not, be going on.

It’s difficult to rate a book which reads well and quite happily provides an original type of horror, but never truly gives understanding of what the background to the horror is. There are sequels to this story, so those interested to can read further, though I won’t be one of them.

Rating: 3
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