My Aunt Margaret's AdventureMy Aunt Margaret's Adventure
by J. Sheridan Le Fanu

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Swan River Press, 2009; 36 pp.

"My Aunt Margaret's Adventure" is reminiscent of the great terror tales of mounting alarm such as Wilkie Collins's "A Terribly Strange Bed"; the hotel scene, to a lesser extent, in Lovecraft's "The Shadow Over Innsmouth"; James Whale's The Old Dark House; and the more recent film The Last Great Wilderness (2002) directed by David Mackenzie. In fact, with their often arch and sardonic senses of humour, the latter two examples are most appropriate comparisons. Comfort and safety are fleeting in stories like these. Familiar and generally hospitable surroundings quickly take turns into strange worlds of indefinable menace. Terror mounts. A candle going out may be discomforting, but an accident befalling your only light source is downright sinister. Like Aunt Margaret, the reader is cursed with an active mind courtesy of the author's vivid prose rich in regional flavour and Gothic detail. It's only a matter of time — we can just feel it in our bones! — before the other shoe drops.

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