Thursday, 2 April 2015

GREAT GHOSTS OF THE SHELVES #3 - Deadly Nightshade ed. Peter Haining

Peter Haining (2nd April 1940 – 19th November 2007) was one of the all-time great anthologists of weird fiction, editing dozens of collections of genre fiction. This little anthology, in a paperback edition from Beaver Books, first appeared in 1979 and was one of several collections from Mr Haining aimed at younger readers. Each tale received a short but informative introduction, telling us a little about the next story and its author. And hence the book as a whole is very much a who's who of great weird fiction authors - certainly it provided me with tasters of a whole range of writers whose works I would go on to seek out. The full contents are as follows - 

The Doll's Ghost by F. Marion Crawford 
Nurses Tale by H. R. Wakefield 
The Attic by Algernon Blackwood 
The Thing In The Cellar by David H. Keller 
The Dabblers by W. F. Harvey 
The Tortoise-Shell Cat by Greye La Spina
The Looking Glass Tree by Joan Aiken 
The Human Angle by William Tenn
Sweets To The Sweet by Robert Bloch
The Witch Of Ramoth by Mark Van Doren 
Twilight Play by August Derleth 
Silent Snow, Secret Snow by Conrad Aiken 
The October Game by Ray Bradbury

Like all good anthologies there is a good mix of famous and obscure tales in there, and the late Mr Haining was a master at such compiling selections - always enough famous stories and top draw authors to draw your attention but equally always enough unfamiliar names and titles to not overlap with other anthologies. And so, after reading this book, as well as picking up any tome with tales by authors I'd enjoyed in this volume such James, Bloch, Bradbury or Blackwood, I was also on the look out by anything edited by Peter Haining. 

Needless to say this tome was a huge influence on me as a child, and unsurprisingly perhaps I have read several of these now well-loved tales on my podcast over the years (links to the shows provided in the contents list above). 

No comments: