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Aylmer Vance: Ghost-Seer

2.3 (1837)

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Aylmer Vance: Ghost-Seer.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Alice Askew(Author),Claude Askew(Author)

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This is a collection of eight ghost stories, written by the remarkably prolific husband and wife team of Claude and Alice Askew, centering on Aylmer Vance, an investigator of the supernatural. Dexter, the narrator, meets Vance during a fishing holiday and Vance tells him three ghost stories on successive nights, each story involving Vance more closely in the action. The fourth story brings Dexter himself into the action, and reveals him to have unsuspected clairvoyant powers. The remaining stories feature Vance and Dexter as a sort of Holmes-and-Watson team investigating incidents not all of which prove to have supernatural causes. The final story, "The Fear" is very effective, describing a house in which a general feeling of extreme fear grips the inhabitants at various times and locations; the emotion of fear is effectively evoked and an interesting tale is constructed as Vance and Dexter work to assign the fear "a local habitation and a name".

2.2 (7071)
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Review Text

  • By Seven Kitties on June 29, 2008

    An offering from a relatively new and small imprint of Wordsworth 'tales of mystery and the supernatural'. The cover is blazoned with a gloss-black skull, to make it extra lurid. And at only a measly 127 pages, one wishes they'd have bundled it with the Aylmer Vance novel, but alas.This is good Edwardian 'horror'--if you don't like period-piece class-based horrors (loveless marriages, poets cheated of success, foreign women and their evil contaminants) this will not turn a hair on your head. If, however, that stuff makes you giddy, this is your cup of posset! Aylmer's your run-of-the-mill pseudo-Victorian genius gentleman with no visible means of support, and he has a puppy-dog admirer Dexter, who serves as his clairvoyant (in two of the stories) and narrator. They investigate, of course, never for anything as gauche as *money*, mind you--Aylmer is allergic to his occult pursuits even being called a 'business.'The stories are pure romance and very goreless. One would almost, from a modern perspective, *like* a little more violence, or a victim who is NOT a nubile young woman. But what's here is absolute solid quality upper crust romantic (and Romantic) stuff. And if you're not clear of the distinction, you might want to skip this book. If, however, you loved Bram Stoker, but found _Dracula_ a little gory and _Jewel of the Seven Stars_ to have a little too much foreign travel--if you'd like something 'cozy', this is for you. It's also reminiscent of John Buchan's forays into the Not Entirely Explained (such as _Dancing Floor_) It does a wonderful job not teetering on EITHER side of the line--not *everything* is supernatural and demonaic in origin; nor, however, is everything mere autosuggestive neurosis. The standout tales are "The Boy of Blackstock," and "The Fear." A pleasant evening's read.

  • By RIJU GANGULY on August 14, 2011

    As the evening grew rainy & thunderous, I felt the need of immersing myself into something dark, sombre, and yet with a silver lining. A good collection of Occult Detective kind of stories seemed to be the need of the hour, and I hastily got hold of this collection, and managed to devour it in no time. The only reason behind the somewhat deficient rating (only 3 stars) is that the stories appeared rather shallow. But let me give a story-wise description here: -1) The Invader: a classic case of en evil spirit coming to occupy another body, and its consequences. The protagonist, despite all his "experiences", could not accomplish anything.2) The Stranger: a powerful tale of love between a carefree (almost pagan) girl and an old god. Again, Aylmer Vance accomplished nothing.3) Lady Green-Sleeves: the germ of this idea is so oft-repeated (ghost coming back for the thrill of present) and has been bettered by so many other authors (esp. Seabury Quinn) that this story appears very light, almost an exotica in a dark & dangerous terrain.4) The Fire Unquenchable: a poet returns from beyond the grave to finish his poetry, and Aylmer Vance's companion (a Barrister, to boot) relaises that he is clairvoyant!5) The Vampire: a solid, horrific, and suitably gothic tale. Unfortunately, the only solution that Aylmer Vance can offer is of destroying the castle of the forefathers of the central character, apparently because a very bad person had lived there, and seems to have a morbid hold over the present incumbents!6) The Boy of Blackstock: a good story, with villanious human beings and ghosts from the past competing to become more horrific. Aylmer Vance understands the problem quite well, but has no "role" to play. The characters were worthy of being the centrepiece of a suitably nasty tale by H.R.Wakefield, and the story belongs to that vein more than the other stories in this collection.7) The Indissoluble Bond: music and death combining to have a ghastly effect upon a lovely girl. Once again, Aylmer Vance "sees" the ghost (technically he is yet to die), but does nothing about it.8) The Fear: Once again, this story lies squarely within H.R. Wakefield terrain, and all that Aylmer Vance has to say is: "Destroy" (the entire castle), to solve the persisting problem (people getting almsot scared to death at certain points of time, without actually watching or hearing anything).When you have a "ghost-seer" whose strike-rate is like that of Dr. Hesselius of Le Fanu (whose patients had unusually high mortality rate) you really can't be very hopefull about the character. But, the ghosts were good, and rather than being cosmic, were horrific enough by virtue of being more earth-bound. Recommended for stormy evenings.

  • By Paula Clifford on December 30, 2009

    Thanks to Wordsworth many unfairly forgotten and neglected supernatural tales are coming back into print. Aylmer Vance may not be a household name compared to Carnacki or John Silence, but he should be better known, and with this nice little volume perhaps he will be. The tales are hard to describe, there are only eight and the first three are loosely connected as they bring together Vance and his partner Dexter, a lawyer who discovers through Vance he's clairvoyant, a trait not overdone in the remaining stories. Readers may be surprised that few of the stories actually have happy endings, Vance may discover the cause of the hauntings, but that doesn't always help bring about the desired solution. This makes the stories unusual for their time, most detectives, supernatural or not, normally only had their successes published. There's a strange quality to the tales that suggests a thin veil separating this world and another one, and leaving the reader in doubt as to which is better. Why the Askews only published eight short stories is a mystery, this volume leaves the reader wanting more.

  • By Booked for life on January 16, 2010

    Aylmer Vance is a gentleman who investigates ghosts, who finds a partner in the lawyer, Dexter. When you find out that the new country house is haunted, call them in. When you have a party guest that only one person can see, call them in. When you have windows that open and close by themselves, call them in. But don't say I didn't warn you. Aylmer cannot lay every ghost to rest. "The Fear" is the best of the stories in the collection. "The Stranger" is probably the one with the most surprising ending, in a way. You'll like these old ghost stories.

  • By Eddie on May 8, 2016

    Unusual set of supernatural stories. More of a conversation between Vance and his friend Dexter where Vance relates his encounters with the supernatural. I would call these stories more romantic then horrifying but they are all very enjoyable. Vance himself has a vulnerable soul and is a deeply feeling character.

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